China has undertaken waves of healthcare reforms to keep pace with its rapid economic growth. By 2011, universal health insurance coverage was successfully achieved through the creation of a basic social medical insurance system. Growing economic power, extensive government subsidies, and strategies for program implementation are critical to that achievement. However, the breadth and depth of coverage varies considerably across insurance schemes and localities. The disjointed insurance scheme led to inequality in coverage, accessibility, and affordability of medical services, lopsided allocation of health resources, and increasing medical expenditures, and these remain crucial challenges for healthcare insurance coverage. This paper describes societal conditions, polices, achievements and challenges in improving health insurance coverage in China. Thailand's experience in universal health insurance coverage and its implications for China's new medical reform are also discussed. Solutions including sustainable increases in government investment, transformation of payment methods, reinforcement of primary health care delivery and the referral system, and standardization of benefits packages are strongly recommended to address challenges in China's long-running medical reform.
Human intestinal absorption is estimated using a human colon carcinoma cell line (Caco-2) cells from human colorectal adenocarcinoma, intestinal perfusion, or a mammalian model. These current evaluation systems are limited in their ability to estimate human intestinal absorption. In addition, in vivo evaluation systems using laboratory animals such as mice and rats entail animal ethics problems, and it is difficult to screen compounds on a large scale at the drug discovery stage. Thus, we propose the use of Bombyx mori larvae for evaluation of intestinal absorption of compounds as an alternative system in this study. First, to compare the characteristics among Caco-2 cells, human intestine, and B. mori larval midgut, we analyzed their RNA-seq data, and we found 26 drug transporters common to humans and B. mori. Next, we quantitatively developed an oral administration technique in B. mori and established a method using silkworm B. mori larvae that can easily estimate the intestinal permeability of compounds. Consequently, we could determine the dose and technique for oral administration in B. mori larvae. We also developed a B. mori model to evaluate the intestinal permeability of orally administered. Our constructed evaluation system will be useful for evaluating intestinal permeability in medical drug development.
We measured and compared the physicochemical properties (pH, yield value, and squeeze force) of a drug for dermatomycosis, terbinafine hydrochloride-containing cream (brand-name product), and 12 generic products to clarify the characteristics of each product. On pH measurement, the pH value of the brand-name product, Lamisil, was 4.8, and those of the generic products ranged from 4.3 to 5.5, showing no marked difference. Furthermore, the yield value of Lamisil, as an index of cream ductility, was 122.2 dyn/cm2, and those of the generic products ranged from 42.1 to 1,621.5 dyn/cm2. In particular, the value of a generic product, Taiyo (42.1 dyn/cm2), was significantly lower, whereas that of another one, Viras (1,621.0 dyn/cm2), was significantly higher. In addition, the squeeze force was measured by attaching a HapLog® to the thumb and second finger. The value of Lamisil was 12.9 N, and those of the generic products ranged from 8.0 to 15.4 N. The values of generic products, Mylan (8.6 N), Tebinaceil (9.0 N), and Kelger (8.0 N), were significantly lower, whereas that of another one, Viras (15.4 N), was significantly higher. These results showed that there were marked differences in the pharmaceutical properties between the generic and brand-name products. The above pharmaceutical characteristics of drugs facilitated the presentation of reasons for differences in the sense of use, which characterizes external preparations, suggesting that products appropriate for individual patients can be recommended.
The aims of this study were to investigate the anesthetic and cytotoxic effects of essential oils (EOs) of Ocimum basilicum (OBO), O. canum (OCO), and O. sanctum (OSO) on Cyprinus carpio (koi carp). For anesthetic effect, induction time to surgical anesthesia and recovery time were determined. For cytotoxicity effect, viability of fish peripheral blood nuclear cells (PBMCs) was investigated. Results indicated that increasing oil concentration caused significant (p < 0.01) decrease of induction time. OSO at 100, 200, and 300 mg/L gave the induction time of 169.5 ± 10.2, 62.8 ± 2.3, 45.3 ± 2.2 sec, respectively, significantly shorter than OCO, and OBO. The recovery time of anesthetized fish was dose dependent (p <0.01). Among them, OCO showed the longest recovery time of 313.0 ± 8.1, 420.7 ± 12.6, 616.6 ± 12.1 sec for concentrations of 100, 200, and 300 mg/L, respectively, followed by OSO and OBO, respectively. Within 10 min contact time of the EOs and fish PBMCs, the fish PBMC viability was higher than 80%. Increase contact time and EO concentration caused an increase in cytotoxicity to fish PBMC. OBO showed less toxic than OSO and OCO. Based on the desired induction and recovery times for anesthetizing koi carp, OBO, OCO, and OSO at 300, 200, and 100 mg/L, respectively were suggested to be the most suitable. It was concluded that OBO, OCO, and OSO can be used as natural anesthetics for fish.
The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of two local anesthetic rice nanogels (RNG) on pain reduction from needle insertion in oral cavity. Nanogel base was prepared using modified rice as gelling agent. The average particle size of RNG determined by photon correlation spectrophotometer was 485 ± 70 nm. Lidocaine hydrochloride (LH) and prilocaine hydrochloride (PH) were incorporated into RNG to obtain anesthetic RNG containing 5% and 20% LH or PH. Clinical efficacy test of each gel was performed in oral cavity of 100 healthy volunteers (25-60 years old). Evaluation was done by recording different pain measurements after inserting a needle into buccal mucosa after applying 5% and 20% anesthetic RNG. RNG base (placebo) and commercial anesthetic gels were used as negative and positive controls, respectively. It was found that the pain level in the negative control group was significantly higher than those of the anesthetic groups. Moreover, the pain level of the anesthetic RNG groups were lower than that of the commercial groups, especially in 20% anesthetic groups. For patient's satisfaction, most of the volunteers were appreciated with the anesthetic RNG as well as the commercial gels. They preferred to use high drug content RNG more than those with low drug content or placebo. It can be concluded that the anesthetic RNG has potential clinical efficacy in pain reduction during needle insertion in oral cavity.
Smoking cessation efforts in Japan reduce smoking rates. A future zero-smoking policy would completely prohibit smoking (0% rate). We therefore analyzed the social welfare of smokers and non-smokers under a hypothetical zero-smoking policy. The demand curve for smoking from 1990 to 2014 was estimated by defining quantity as the number of cigarettes smoked and price as total tobacco sales/total cigarettes smoked by the two-stage least squares method using the tax on tobacco as the instrumental variable. In the estimation equation (calculated using the ordinary least squares method), the price of tobacco was the dependent variable and tobacco quantity the explanatory variable. The estimated constant was 31.90, the estimated coefficient of quantity was − 0.0061 (both, p < 0.0004), and the determinant coefficient was 0.9187. Thus, the 2015 consumer surplus was 1.08 trillion yen (US$ 9.82 billion) (95% confidence interval (CI), 889 billion yen (US$ 8.08 billion) – 1.27 trillion yen (US$ 11.6 billion)). Because tax revenue from tobacco in 2011 was 2.38 trillion yen (US$ 21.6 billion), the estimated deadweight loss if smoking were prohibited in 2014 was 3.31 trillion yen (US$ 30.2 billion) (95% CI, 3.13 trillion yen (US$ 28.5 billion) – 3.50 trillion yen (US$ 31.8 billion)), representing a deadweight loss about 0.6 trillion yen (US$ 5.45 billion) below the 2014 disease burden (4.10-4.12 trillion yen (US$ 37.3-37.5 billion)). We conclude that a zero-smoking policy would improve social welfare in Japan.
The aim of this study was to assess rectal feces storage condition by a pocket-size ultrasonography (PUS) in healthy adults so as to define normal rectal defecation desire. Participants were first assessed rectum by PUS imaging immediately after defecation desire (pre-defecation). Nurses checked the amount and quality of the participants' feces using King's Stool Chart and Bristol stool scale. Finally, PUS was performed for defecation with no defecation desire (post-defecation). Pre-defecation PUS detected high echo area in all patients. All of the post-defecation PUS did not detect high echo area (perfectly no recognizable high echo area in 54.5%, high echo line in 36.4%, and low echo of entire circumference in 9.1% of the patients). Average diameter of rectal crescent was 4.22 ± 0.8 cm. Bristol Stool Scale 1 or 2 (indicating hard stool) of pre-defecation PUS indicated high echo area and acoustic shadow in 100% of the patients. This study showed that healthy adult with defecation desire had high average rectal echo area of 4.0 cm in diameter. PUS may be able to define the rectum diameter for defecation desire of elderly people. PUS is capable of assessing fecal retention of the rectum for point-of-care examinations in home care.
Iliopsoas abscess (IPA) is an uncommon diagnosis in medical wards. Herein, we present two unusual cases of IPA. First patient was an elderly diabetic patient who had gas-forming bilateral IPA caused by Escherichia coli. This infection proved fatal and patient succumbed on third day of hospital admission. Second patient was a young boy who had right sided sacroilitis with IPA. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from the pus culture and patient was successfully treated without any sequelae.
Ipragliflozin is the first SGLT2 inhibitor approved in Japan. Reported here is a case where long-term administration of ipragliflozin decreased the rate of re-hospitalization due to heart failure (HF). An 83-year-old man with chronic HF and diabetes mellitus (DM) was hospitalized four times in the last five years. He was discharged six months after his last hospitalization, but he continued to have class III HF according to the New York Heart Association classification (NYHA), and his DM was also not properly managed. Therefore, he received ipragliflozin. One year after initiation of ipragliflozin, he lost weight (body weight (BW): 79.0 to 76.2 kg), his levels of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) decreased (191.4 to 122.5 mg/dL), and the class of his HF improved (class III to class II). The management of DM also improved (fasting blood glucose: 100 to 110 mg/dL; hemoglobin A1C: 6.8 to 6.6%). In addition, cardiac sympathetic nerve function evaluated with 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine cardiac-scintigraphy (123I-MIBG) also improved (the average of the heart-to-mediastinum ratio in early and delayed phases; 1.44 to 2.17 in the early phase, 1.41 to 1.92 in the delayed phase, washout rate; 43.3 to 35.6). The patient was not re-hospitalized due to HF two years after administration of ipragliflozin started. A reduction in cardiac sympathetic nerve hyperactivity by an SGLT2 inhibitor might be one of the mechanisms of its cardio-protective effect, but clinical studies need to be conducted to verify this finding.
Tropical pulmonary eosinophilia (TPE) is a rare allergic manifestation to the filarial nematode. A 38-year old male and a 15-year old female presented with cough and breathlessness. Their complete blood count showed eosinophilia. This finding was overshadowed by the radiological findings suggestive of tuberculosis. The diagnosis of TPE was confirmed by filarial antigen detection test and both the patients were successfully treated with diethylcarbamazine. TPE presents with cough and breathlessness and can be often confused with tuberculosis, especially in endemic settings. An important clue in differentiating the two entities is the presence of eosinophilia in the former.