Japan is the world’s third largest market for medical devices, after the US and Europe. Ironically, many of the world’s medical device manufacturers find language barriers for communicating with Japanese regulatory authorities a greater barrier than passing through the regulatory maze! The regulatory filing requirements for medical devices in Japan are relatively less complex than those of the US and Europe and other markets.
Regulatory filing requirements for medical devices in Japan start with passing what is called the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law (PMDL). To facilitate better understanding of the language and to make regulatory filing requirements for medical devices in Japan easier, the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), which is a part of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) issues English language documents.
The “Toroku” registration processThe Japanese system for complying with regulatory filing requirements for medical devices has two different modes for domestic and foreign medical device manufacturers. For Japanese medical device companies, a registration system known as “Toroku”, which is formulated under the PMDL, applies. According to this process, domestic manufacturers whose manufacturing processes are based in Japan have to register their manufacturing facilities with the local authorities at their respective prefectures. For foreign manufacturers, the same have to be registered with the PMDA.
The step-by-step processThis is how the step-by-step process for regulatory filing requirements for medical devices in Japan takes place: