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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Japanese Drug Approvals


It's sometimes difficult to trace the approval process for drugs in 'foreign' countries - of course, foreign is relative, but nonetheless as a non-local it is difficult to know where to start. As an example, I tried a number of 'social media' approaches to find out about Chinese Drug non-proprietary naming - Quora, Google+ the ChEMBL-og and LinkedIn - LinkedIn was by far the best in terms of useful leads and information, often from 2nd or 3rd away links. Thanks to all that helped so far.

Anyway, here's a website in Japan which contains a definitive list of Japanese Drug Approvals, and which has sections in the English language to help non-Japanese readers/speakers.

It's the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency, Japan, website - http://www.pmda.go.jp/ with an English version at http://www.pmda.go.jp/english/

There are convenient, yearly approval summaries, in English - http://www.pmda.go.jp/english/service/list_s.html

Package inserts are here http://www.info.pmda.go.jp/info/iyaku_index.html (Japanese only).

As a general comment, I find the websites for the primary US and European drug approval agencies (www.fda.gov and www.emea.europa.eu) to be very complex to use, have unstable links (so things can move around and disappear), have no obvious site maps, or ways of retrieving data in a programmatic/hackamatic way - which given that these are obvious cases where opening up and ready availability of public/government data is surprising. The ability to link in to these sites is essential, and at the moment, can't be reliably done.

As an aside, there's a very good database in the UK - UK Medicines Information, which, unfortunately is only available to NHS employees, or other associated staff (presumably for licensing reasons?). However, a lot of the post-sign-in content is indexed in well known search engines - you just need to know what you are looking for ;)

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