Japan Passes Bill to Pool Medical Big Data for Medical Research and Development

Japan’s National Diet passed a bill last month in order to use patient records effectively to make more progress in medical research. The law is roughly translated as the next-generation medical infrastructure law, and it will allow anonymous medical big data to be pooled to be used for medical research and development of pharmaceuticals.

This is not a mandatory system; only hospitals and clinics that wish to participate can provide the information. Hospitals and clinics that want to participate must inform their patients ahead of time, and patients are also allowed to decline participation if they do not wish to have their information in the database.

Japan is known for having one of the longest life expectancies in the world, but many people spend the last years of their lives bedridden or with significant impairments. Thus, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to continue to work to prolong people’s life expectancies and further develop the country’s health care sector. Having this national database will allow researchers to get more information on the effects of drugs and diseases.