Prescription Drugs in Japan
Before Entering Japan
Hi Smiles friends! Welcome back to our Japan 101 series. Today we are going to share on how to get medicine from your home country into Japan.
Our health is a very important resource we have. Many of us are trying our best to keep our health at its best from eating healthy food to taking prescribed medicine. Bringing medicine in Japan from your home country could be tricky and finding your prescription drugs are sometimes not the easiest thing to do. Before you enter Japan, there are some points you must pay attention to.
For drugs and quasi-drugs, it is possible to bring these personal medicines into Japan after you complete certain procedures. When you want to bring prescribed narcotics and psychotropics, you must first apply for permission by the Japanese Government (the directors of the Regional Bureaus of Health and Welfare) and receive the permission before you leave your home country. Also, you need to apply for an import certificate called “Yakkan Shoumei (薬監証明)” and present it to the officer at the customs. The same procedures apply if you want to bring medical devices to Japan.
Prescription Drugs and Herbal Medicines
In addition, there are two things to know about prescription drugs in Japan. First, even though many prescription drugs are available, there might be a slightly different formula than what they have from your country. Or even if the formula is the same with what you have been using, it may not provide the same relief. For that, it is better if you consult with the doctor about the specific medicine and outcome relief you want. There are not many foreign brands available in Japan, so your doctor most probably will replace it with the closest one with your medicine. Some medications also cannot be prescribed at all due to differences in drug laws and regulations from each country. When filling a prescription from a doctor, you will usually be directed to a pharmacy near the hospital in which you were treated.
Second, traditional herbal remedies are also popular in Japan even today. Traditional herbal remedies, known as Kanpo in Japanese, maybe prescribed in addition to or instead of prescription drugs. Herbal medicines have no difference with drugs, so you do not have to worry about the quality if it is prescribed by your doctor. However, remember to only take prescribed medicinal herbs under the care of your doctor, because some of them can be dangerous when used with wrong doses so please don’t assume it’s harmless just because it’s classified as a herb.
Japan Health Info
Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare