Japanese pharma market rapidly growing, finds report

Japanese pharma market rapidly growing, finds report
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The Japanese pharma market is expected to grow quickly in 2019 following the release of a new report published ahead of CPhI Japan 2019.

The findings represent a sizable year-on-year improvement in outlook for pharma in Japan, with expected growth of solid dose formulations improving by more than 10% (rising to 5.4 up from just 4.75 in 2018), with generic drug classes highlighted as offering strong growth prospects.

The nation now ranks ahead of all EU nations and Korea – finishing only behind the United States of the mature pharma markets.

“Japan’s pharmaceutical industry has long centred on strong innovation and patented drugs, but we are now observing a dramatic increase in generics and biosimilars in the market,” said Laura Murina, Brand Manager CPhI Japan.

The outlook for the biologics sector was even more positive, where growth potential for Japan (7.5) was second only to the United States (7.9) – recognising the substantial potential for biosimilars in 2019 and beyond.

Japanese companies reported renewed confidence in the domestic market, but more significantly, a larger number are also exploring exports than in previous years.

In fact, 2019 will be the first year that Japan’s largest pharma companies gain 50% of their sales from overseas – as recently as 2017 this was still well under 50%, but it has grown quickly in recent years. 

The report suggested that the resurgence in international interest is being driven by de-regulation opening-up accelerated approval pathways, coupled with one of the world’s fastest growing generics markets.

R&D in Japan also remains at the forefront of global pharma – a result of both the attractiveness of the nation’s medicines market and the strength of local research institutions.

The report concludes that Japan is a country ripe for growth across a number of product classes, but the long-term winners of regulatory changes, aging demographics and innovative R&D remain hard to pick.

What is clear, however, is that the opportunities have widened quickly, and new players would be wise to act fast.

In particular, there are renewed opportunities for international contract service providers, generics and finished drug manufacturers as well as domestic manufacturers to become the local manufacturing arms of international firms.