Neuronetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: STIM), a commercial stage medical technology company focused on designing, developing and marketing products that improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from psychiatric disorders, announced that Kanagawa Psychiatric Center is treating the first patient in Japan using NeuroStar® Advanced Therapy under the newly approved reimbursement listing by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the Central Social Insurance Medical Council (Chuikyo). The reimbursement listing went into effect on June 1, 2019.
As many as 2.4 million adults live with depression in Japan, with approximately 655,000 of them being treated by a doctor. It is estimated that of those receiving treatment, 475,000 patients have failed to achieve remission from depression through antidepressant medications — confirming the importance of safe, effective, non-drug treatment options like NeuroStar Advanced Therapy to address an unmet need in Japan.
“Our initial expansion into Japan, securing reimbursement coverage in the country, our first commercial system installation and now the official treatment of the first patient under the new health policy are such important milestones for us as we work to expand access to people around the world who may benefit from the NeuroStar treatment,” said Chris Thatcher, President and CEO of Neuronetics. “We know antidepressants are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it is crucial that patients with depression and their psychiatrists have access to this alternative option with the potential to transform patients’ lives.”
According to a survey conducted by the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology (JSPN), more than half of psychiatric specialists in Japan highly expect to consider TMS for their patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). With NeuroStar now covered by Japan’s national public health insurance, this has the potential to transform the treatment of major depression in Japan.1 Kanagawa Psychiatric Center, the largest psychiatric facility in Yokohama, Japan, is also the first facility in Japan, since the reimbursement listing, to commercially install the Company’s NeuroStar Advanced Therapy System for the treatment of MDD.
“Access to and coverage of NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is a positive step forward for depression patients seeking a non-drug option, and their doctors who now have another treatment consideration at their fingertips,” said Dr. Motoaki Nakamura, Psychiatrist at Kanagawa Psychiatric Center and Associate Professor at Showa University. “This treatment has the potential to improve the clinical field of depression in Japan, lift the burden of crowded hospitals and facilities since it is a non-invasive option, and can provide hope to the many depression sufferers in our country.”
Japan faces one of the highest suicide rates in the world,2 though the country has an increased focus on addressing mental health and wellness. In recent years, the MHLW amended the Industrial Safety and Health Act to require that companies offer an annual stress check to monitor employees’ mental health. The MHLW also continues to promote employment of people with mental disabilities to break the stigma often associated with mental health.
Dr. Nakamura added, “Japan has come a long way in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health. I’m delighted that NeuroStar Advanced Therapy has been recognized and approved as a depression treatment option, and I’m proud to offer it at Kanagawa Psychiatric Center. It gives my patients a chance to achieve remission from depression when antidepressants aren’t effective.”