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Japan’s generics sector set to grow Posted 29/10/2010

Japan is currently the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market, with annual sales of approximately Yen 8,850 billion. Around 8% of its prescription drug sales (20% in sales volume) are generics.

By 2012, a combination of major drug patent expiries, a rapidly aging population and wide-ranging government initiatives to reduce healthcare spending will make the generic drug sector in Japan increasingly attractive. The Japanese government wants generics to reach more than 30% of the total pharmaceutical market in volume by 2012, doubling its position in early 2009.

A partnership between sanofi-aventis and Nichi-Iko could help the market grow, by promoting acceptance of generics. Mr Olivier Charmeil, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific & Japan, sanofi-aventis, said “Our objective is to provide the Japanese generic market, which is expected to further expand in the future, with high quality and affordable pharmaceuticals, supporting the government's stated objective of increasing generic penetration.”

The move is the latest evidence of growing interest. Foreign companies already active in Japan's generic drugs market include Pfizer and Teva and the arrival of sanofi-aventis will increase the competitive pressure on smaller domestic suppliers. Japanese firm Daiichi Sankyo, the parent company of Ranbaxy, also decided to start manufacturing generics earlier this year.

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Reference

Sanofi-aventis Press Release. Sanofi-aventis and Generics Leader Nichi-Iko to Establish New Joint Venture for Generics in Japan. 28 May 2010

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