Defined by the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Act, a "pharmaceutical product" is a medicine that has been approved for the efficacy of its ingredients and is intended to treat a disease. There are three categories of medicines: prescription medicines, which are prescribed by a doctor; non-prescription medicines, which do not require a prescription but require an explanation by a pharmacist; and over-the-counter medicines, which can be bought without a prescription.
Quasi-drugs are medicines for the purpose of prevention of symptoms and hygiene : they have a weaker effect on the human body than medicines. Some products, such as nutritional drinks, shampoos and hair-growth products, are considered “quasi-drugs”, whereas skincare products that are less effective than “quasi-drugs” are classified as cosmetics.
Japan’s medical device market is highly dependent on imports, especially sophisticated products such as pacemakers and surgical robotic systems.
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