Japan Expands Share of Generic Drugs

Japan raised the share of generic drugs used in the country to 65.8 percent as of September 2017, putting it on course to reach its target of 80 percent by 2020. The switch to generics from brand-name drugs reduced medical costs by an estimated 1.3 trillion yen ($12 billion) in fiscal 2017, the health ministry said in March 2018.

The trend is reinforced by Japan’s expanding trade ties with India, a leading maker of generic drugs. Overall bilateral trade has jumped to $4.7 billion from $2.6 billion in 2015-16.

The health ministry also announced it would cut the government-set price for popular lung cancer drug Opdivo by over 23 percent in fiscal 2018, after halving it last year. Drug prices overall in Japan are forecast to fall by 1.36 percent this fiscal year.