In March, the Japanese Supreme Court rejected the retail sales’ appeal that the current restriction on OTC products are constitutional. .It held that the prohibition of web transactions of certain OTC products is “reasonable” in light of possible health risks from in appropriate administration. The logic of the decision is traditional and not particularly noteworthy. What is interesting is the plaintiff’s identity: Rakuten.
Rakuten is known to be an innovative company challenging various regulations. The company has grown from Web retail business into finance, banking, pharmaceuticals and entertainment. Missing from the dispute are Japanese OTC manufacturers, on the other hand. They must have opinions of their own, and even form industry associations, but have done nothing. It is understandable if they support the restriction in order not to antagonize pharmacies, but they may be driven by the fear of the health authorities.
Conflict of interest statement: We represent Rakuten Medical Inc (US).