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Rheumatology practice in Japan: challenges and opportunities

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Abstract

This article aims to and describes the characteristics of rheumatology practice in Japan, focusing on the medical environment for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In Japan, the introduction of biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARDs) has led to a significant paradigm shift in medical care; satisfactory safety outcomes have been demonstrated by periodic analysis, post-market surveillance and the development of guidelines via an industry–academia–government collaboration. Drug discontinuation is also considered an option, as well as medical economic analysis of any increase in the financial burden engendered by use of bDMARDs. Tocilizumab, a bDMARD established in Japan, was developed in an environment that facilitates translational research. The rheumatology community in Japan is expected to continue to develop novel therapies, while ensuring consistent quality of medical care despite limited healthcare resources.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Dr. Olga Amengual for her English editing support.

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Correspondence to Kenji Oku.

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Kenji Oku and Tatsuya Atsumi declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Oku, K., Atsumi, T. Rheumatology practice in Japan: challenges and opportunities. Rheumatol Int 39, 1499–1505 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-019-04281-0

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