Tokyo, Dec. 17 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government Tuesday decided to cut medical fees, including drug prices, under the public health insurance system by 0.45 pct in a biennial cost revision for fiscal 2020.
The fees will remain on the downward march from fiscal 2016 amid the severe financial situation of the health insurance system.
Fees for each medical treatment will be discussed at the Central Social Insurance Medical Council, which advises the health minister, and worked out as early as February.
After the revision, out-of-pocket financial burdens on patients including for prescription drugs given at pharmacies may become lighter.
Medical service fees mainly to cover personnel costs will rise 0.55 pct, the same margin as in the previous revision in fiscal 2018.
Of the figure, 0.47 pct is for fees to cover the costs of personnel and the treatment they provide, and 0.08 pct is to cover expenses for work style reform for doctors at emergency hospitals.
Meanwhile, Japan will cut drug prices by 1.00 pct, mainly by decreasing the gap between government-set and market prices.
The drug prices will drop by an additional 0.01 pct, with the effects of a system to lower the prices of medicines that enjoy large annual sales taken into account.
The health ministry had sought a rise in medical service fees as big as the one in fiscal 2018, while the Finance Ministry aimed to curb medical expenditures.
In negotiations between their ministers, the two sides agreed to limit the increase in social security costs next fiscal year due to the aging population to around 410 billion yen, down from the initially forecast 530 billion yen.