Japan Sets New Prices on Majority of Drug Products Sold in Country

The cost of the majority of pharmaceuticals sold in Japan will undergo major revisions April 1, when the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) sets new prices on more than 69% of drugs marketed in the country.

The revisions mean the national health insurance (NHI) prices will be lowered for more than 12,000 drug products whose market prices were found to be 5% lower than the current NHI prices.

The price revisions mark the first time Japan, where the prices of medicines are set by the government and their use is subsidized by the country’s public health insurance system, has evaluated and revised drug prices after one year. The policy of conducting evaluations and revisions every two years had long been enshrined in Japanese law. But since 2017, when Japan’s Central Social Insurance Medical Council (JCSIM) special committee on drug prices proposed to review costs more frequently, a change in that policy had been expected.