Promotion of the Use of Generic Drugs in Japan

The Japan Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has determined a policy that the usage rate of generic drugs should be raised over 80% before September, 2020. The ministry aims to restrain medical expenses by the diffusion of lower-cost generic drugs.

As you know, a generic drug basically has the same positive effect as an original drug whose patent has already expired, and the generic drug price is usually around 20-70% of the original drug price.  The ministry formulated a roadmap for promotion of the use of generic drugs in April, 2013, and decided to raise quantitative ratio of generic drugs from 56.5 % (in 2015) to over 70 % (in 2017) and over 80 % (in 2018-2020) in an attempt to accomplish the following:

  1. reducing the copayments by the patients for pharmaceutical expenses; and
  2. improving the efficiency of provision of medical care (reduction of medical costs) without undermining its quality.

The market share of generic drugs in Japan is very low compared to the shares in the foreign countries.

For more details, please see the ministry’s website