Japanese drugs are renown for their frequent side effects. In order to protect the domestic drug industry, laws are in place to largely restrict the importation of medicines into Japan. However this had had the effect of delaying the introduction of newer more advanced treatments into the country, and allowing older generations of drugs (with their associated side effects) to stay on the market.
In addition to this, the domestic drug industry isn't required to comply with the same standards of testing that are common in most other Western countries. The result is that there are many drugs on the market that cause side effects that probably would have been noticed during more extensive testing.
Furthermore, Over the Counter (O.T.C) cold remedies that we are used to in our home countries often contain small amounts of stimulants to give those affected by colds 'a boost' and make them feel less lethargic. However in Japan, there are extremely strong laws designed to prevent the illegal importation and manufacture of such stimulants, due to the fear that they may be abused. For this reason, if you are able to locate your favourite brand of cold remedy in Japan, it may use a different formulation, and be nowhere near as effective as you are used to.
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