Table Speech


Reform for Supporting an Extension of Healthy Life Span

December 12, 2018

Mr. Thorsten Poehl
Representative Director, President,
Boehringer Ingelheim Japan, Inc.


 According to a certain research, an average life span before modern time was around 30 years anywhere in the world. However, at the beginning of the 19th century an average life span started to get longer dramatically in the industrializing nations.

 The latest data publicized in 2018 by WHO (World Health Organization) shows that the average life span of Japanese men is 81.1 years and that of women 87.1 years. Average life span of both men and women is 84.2 years, which is the highest in the world. Basically, average life span is expected to grow for the future. In the USA, however, from 2014 to 2016 an average life span showed a declining trend caused by the change of life style.

 Pharmaceuticals have considerably contributed to improve the patients’ health contracted with various illnesses. According to the recent survey, the 5-year survival rate for cancer patients after treatment was extended 20% from 1975 to 2011, and that of prostate cancer patients was extended from 67% to 99% during the same period. There are many illnesses whose therapeutic methods progressed, yet there are still a lot to be grappled with. The pharmaceutical industry will continue investment in order to discover therapies for important outstanding medical needs.

 In Japan there are brilliant scientists and a solid basis for research. During the past 10 years, Nobel Prizes were awarded four times for various medical researchers in Japan. Exploiting this advantage, Japanese industry will be able to become a world leader in medical research and the development of new drugs. Japan is one of the few countries equipped with both scientific capability and an administrative system which enable it to secure the whole process necessary for the development of basic research up to clinical and pharmaceutical development, and marketing.

 Recently there are new possibilities to support patients and medical practitioners such as Big Data, social media or networks for patients. Medial alliance and integration will now become more and more important.