Disruption in Japanese Drug Production and Medical Services

Since Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, drug manufacturing has been disrupted for various Japanese drug producers, especially in the regions of Tohoku and northern Kanto. The manufacturing of Japanese pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics, pill and capsule formulations for specialty drugs, APIs and advanced biologics have been temporarily halted due to plant damage and power outages. It may take a few months before these production facilities return to pre-disaster levels.

In the meantime, local pharmaceutical companies in Japan have turned to their foreign manufacturing branches and other imported drugs for supplies. Japanese medical practitioners have also been requested to avoid issuing long-term prescriptions with the drug supply shortage.

Medical services disrupted in Japan

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has also damaged more than 100 hospitals located along the coastal areas. The catastrophe has damaged the regional medical systems in these areas, and will need rebuilding by the Japanese government.

In a Japanese media survey, it was found that about 70% of the damaged hospitals in and around the disaster areas could not provide full medical services. Smaller Japanese medical institutions have also faced disruption in their services, and more than 160 have yet to reopen. The situation is exacerbated by the shortage of medical staff in the disaster-hit regions.