Quasidrugs In The Future

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There has been a great demand by consumers for innovative cosmetic products with pharmacological action, i.e., pseudodrugs or cosmeceuticals such as skin antiaging products. To satisfy their demands, research on the skin has been undertaken to develop new active ingredients for skin antiaging products. How should those products be legally categorized? Quasidrugs would seem to be suitable for such products to be categorized. However, all of the products have not always been approved as quasidrugs to date. Taking antiwrinkle products, for example, no new products have been approved under the existing quasidrug specifications.

Generally, topically applied quasidrugs are intended to mollify unwanted aspects of the skin and have a mild action on the human body, whereas medical drugs are intended to treat specific diseases. Therefore, hair-growth products with a mild action on male-pattern baldness, which is not a disease [2], are quasidrugs. On the other hand, products intended for alopecia areata, which is a disease, are regarded as drugs. The natural aging of skin, like wrinkling, is not a disease, for example. We should also keep in mind that ''high efficacy'' should not always involve ''strong action.'' There will be many pseudo-drugs or cosmeceutical products with mild actions showing good efficacy.

Legally, the Minister of Health and Welfare can add new, novel types of products to the current list of types of quasidrugs [12]. Therefore, we hope that before long the aforementioned new products will be listed as quasidrugs.

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