Friday, February 8, 2013

Drug stores without drugs

In Japan, there are a lot of drug stores.

In Japan, selling medical drugs is very strictly regulated. Strong drugs are not allowed in a drug store without a prescription by a physician. Internet selling is also restricted.

A few years ago, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare tried to relax the regulation to allow drug stores to sell some weak drugs such as compresses or Chinese medicines. But associations related to medical care providers strongly opposed to relaxation. At last this attempt of reform was not successful. The government intended to reduce expenditure of national health insurance. If some drugs were allowed to sell as over the counter (OTC) drugs, many orthopedists would suffer from loss of income, because they prescribed a lot of compresses.

Now drug stores can sell limited OTC drugs. From my point of view as a doctor, drugs they sell are nearly useless compared to normal medication.

Nevertheless drug stores are struggling to accomplish high amount of sales.
Matsumoto Kiyoshi co. (Matsu-Kiyo) is the largest company of drug stores supply chain. Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, the founder of Matsu-Kiyo, was born in 1909. He established Matsu-Kiyo in 1954 and assumed the office of mayor in Matsudo-city in later. There are a total of 680 Matsu-Kiyo drug stores in Japan now.
Many drug stores like Matsu-Kiyo equip many kinds of items. Medicines and cosmetics are needless to say. Household items, kitchen utensils, wash items, some foods and drinks and so on they also sell. When you go to a drug store in holiday, you can buy everything to clean your home.

Drug stores in Japan are not selling drugs. They are another form of convenience stores. Usually they are bigger than convenience stores to equip more items. So convenient!

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