Functional Food and Nutraceutical Registration Processes in Japan and China: A Diffusion of Innovation Perspective


  • Darshika Patel University of Auckland
  • Yvon Dufour University of Auckland
  • Neil Domigan Auctus Limited



Purpose - This paper looks into the functional food and nutraceutical registration processes in Japan and China. The Japanese have developed the Foods for Specified Health Use (FOSHU) registration process whereas the Chinese have put into place the Health Food (HF) registration process. The aim of this paper is to compare the regulation processes between the two countries in search for answers to three core empirical questions: (1) how have the registration processes developed and changed? (2) What are the similarities and differences between the processes of registration in the two countries investigated? (3) Why are the registration processes similar/different? Method – The study was conducted using secondary sources. The literature surveyed covered academic journals, trade journals, magazine and newspaper articles, market reports, proceedings, books and web pages of relevant regulatory authorities and regulatory consultants. Information from the more recently published sources was used preferentially over older sources. As well as using the most recent sources, information was selected on the basis of which source it was from. Official regulations and SFDA and MHLW websites would contain accurate and up to date information and information from here would be taken as true over other sources of information. Results - The two diagrams of the registration processes respectively in Japan and China clearly show that there are similarities and differences. There are six categories under which these can be found: (1) the scientific evidence required; (2) the application process; (3) the evaluation process; (4) the law and the categories of products; (5) the labels and the types of claims; and finally (6) the cost and the time involved. Conclusions -The data analysis suggests that the process of diffusion of innovation played a role in the development of the regulations. Further it was found that while Japan was at the outset a pioneer innovator in nutraceutical registration processes, there are indications that in more recent years it too imitated other countries. NOVELTY STATEMENT: The assortment of regulatory regimes creates much uncertainty for the firms and the lack of familiarity and poor knowledge of the regulatory situation increases the risk of failure. The research presented in this paper provides highly valuable information to any biotech/pharmaceutical/nutraceutical companies developing their market entry strategy in Japan and China. There are few national and international studies of drug registration application processes but even fewer comparative studies of functional food and neutraceutical registration application processes such as this one and none using a diffusion of innovation perspective.


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Author Biographies

Darshika Patel, University of Auckland

School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland

Yvon Dufour, University of Auckland

Department of management and International Business, University of Auckland



How to Cite

Patel, D., Dufour, Y., & Domigan, N. (2008). Functional Food and Nutraceutical Registration Processes in Japan and China: A Diffusion of Innovation Perspective. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, 11(4), 1–11.



Pharmaceutical Sciences; Original Research Articles