Institute for Health Economics and Policy

IHEP is a non-profit corporation approved by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. This research institute receives the full support of academic societies, the health care industry and the Japanese Government and was established to promote the studies of health economics and policy in Japan on October 1, 1993. The establishment of this kind of research institute had long been expected to activate the policy argument regarding Japanese health care issues, promote empirical studies in this field, and contribute to the development and improvement of health care policies. In response to the growing demand on health economics research, IHEP was founded with the strong support of specialists, researchers, medical institutions and the related industries.

The following are extracts from the IHEP prospectus

(This prospectus was drawn up as material for a promoters meeting held on May 14, 1993.)
The necessity to establish IHEP was explained as follows.


National medical expenses are currently estimated to exceed 24 trillion yen and to be more than 6% of national income.

Accordingly, the number of medical institutions is increasing year on year. There are more than 10 thousand hospitals, more than 80 thousand clinics and more than 50 thousand dental clinics. The number of people working at medical institutions amounts to more than 2 million.

There are a large variety of related industries in this field including the pharmaceutical industry, the medical equipment industry, the health care related distribution industry and the health care related service industry, and estimates of their output indicate the gradual strengthening of their positions in the Japanese industrial world.

Moreover, under the universal health insurance coverage system, the management of the health care insurance system has become an important financial administration problem which is now discussed in budget formation meetings every year.


Although health care occupies qualitatively and quantitatively important positions in the national economy, theoretical researches as to how to distribute economic resources for health care and empirical investigations fairly and efficiently and analyses of various economic/financial problems have not been thoroughly conducted. Some specialists have pointed out that health economics has not been established as a subject for scientific study in Japan.


In Europe and America, however, health economics has already been introduced into research education in universities. In these countries, there are many research institutes for highly academic health economic studies which contribute significantly to the improvement of the quality of health care services by conducting theoretical research, proposing policies and improving the quality of workers belonging to the health care industry.

The governments of European countries and America simultaneously establish and utilize these research institutes in various fields. In America, the development of diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) which are used as the basis for calculating hospital insurance benefits and the resource-based relative value scale (RBRVS) which is used as the basis for making the relative value scale, were the result of the studies conducted in the universities and private research institutes at the request of the Health Care Financing Administration.


In this environment, IHEP was established for the following purposes; to study the distribution of health care related resources and various economic and financial problems from the practical aspects of experience and policies, to educate specialists in health care economics, to found related research institutes and to train health care staff. Through these activities, the study of health economics in Japan can be promoted and reach a global level in the near future.

Activities of departments

Research Department

Conducts research on important policy issues through transdisciplinary approaches.

Public Relations Department

Plans various projects such as academic symposia, meetings organized according to themes, research meetings and educational events and provides supporting members with important information.

Infrastructure Department

Strengthens the research infrastructure by establishing a health economics library, provides data and prepares data bases. Conducts government-sponsored studies.

General Affairs Department

Deals with general affairs (budgets, accounts, legal matters, etc).

Board of Executives
Director General: Hisao Endo
Deputy Director General: Ichiro Innami

Institute for Health Economics and Policy

Director General Deputy Director General Research Department Public Relations Department Infrastructure Department General Affairs Department

To conduct research on health economics and policy, to collect and disseminate information on health care, to nurture young researchers, thus to contribute to the improvement of health care services and the development of health care policies in Japan.


1.Research in health policy

・Independently defines important policy issues and finances the related research.
・Conducts studies commissioned by the government, local governments and private associations.
・Collects information on health care systems in foreign countries and analyze them.
・Publishes research reports.

2.Public relations

・Sponsors symposia and research meetings in cooperation with the related industries, academic societies and government.
・Publishes periodicals such as monthly journals and biannuals.
 Provides information on the health economics research and policy.

3.Preparation of the basis for the study of health economics

・Collects/ disseminates information on healthcare issues and policies.
・Builds a data base for researchers specializing in health economics and policy.
・Sponsors various academic health economics meetings.
・Sponsors health economics research grant.

As the leading think tank for Japanese health care policy, IHEP has various research projects ranging from health care technology assessment of individual medical technology to survey on the total health care system of foreign countries. The following six areas of research include both ongoing and future research projects.

Research on medical and long-term care expenditure

Responding the increasing national healthcare expenditure, IHEP is conducting research on the determinants and trends of on healthcare expenditure using panel-data, GIS and other analytical methods. Other topics include estimation of Personal Healthcare Expenditure on SHA, utilization of National Data Base, and so on.

Research on medical and long-term care fees

Japan has a universal pricing mechanism for universal health insurance coverage including the prices of pharmaceuticals and their changing scheme, which is an important health policy measurement to ensure the quality of care and achieve cost-containment. IHEP has been involved in the basic research focusing on the pricing schemes for acute and long-term care and the econo-political-medical evaluation of their changes.

Research on health care provision system

Japanese health care delivery system is comprised of mostly private medium to small hospitals, private doctors and other health care professionals. With a recent emphasis on aging in communities, IHEP is conducting research on Reginal Comprehensive Care system, integrated healthcare networks, home care, and preventive medicine and other social activities.

Research on medical and long-term care facilities

Recently, the importance of the operation of public medical and long-term care facilities has been widely recognized. IHEP is conducting research on the appropriate state of service providing system and the operation of the public medical and long-term institutions.

Research on health care industry

IHEP is conducting research focusing on health care related industries (pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and insurance). In addition to research industrial-organization-theory-based evaluation of the health care industry from an economic perspective, an investigation of government policies on health science technology has been conducted.

Research on health care system in foreign countries

IHEP is collecting and organizing basic information on medical and long-term care systems in Euro-North American and emerging countries such as BRICs and CIVETS.

Institute for Health Economics and Policy

3F Tokyu Toranomon Bldg.,1-21-19,Toranomon,Minato-ku, Tokyo,105-0001 Japan
Phone:+81 3-3506-8529 Facsimile:+81 3-3506-8528