The generics market in Taiwan

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Taiwan is a growing market for pharmaceuticals and the generics market is becoming more competitive in terms of price and quality, according to a presentation by Yi-Yun Wang [1].

Taiwan V14E02

Health care in Taiwan is administrated by the Ministry of Health and the Welfare of the Executive Yuan. The healthcare system in Taiwan, known as the National Health Insurance (NHI, Chinese: 全民健康保險), was created in 1995, making health care available to the 40% of Taiwanese people that were previously uninsured [2]. The NHI is a compulsory social insurance plan, which now covers 99% of the country’s 23.4 million inhabitants, as well as 86% of the hospitals and 91% of the doctors in the country.

The five leading causes of death in Taiwan are cancer (28.4%), heart disease (11.1%), cerebrovascular disease (7.2%), pneumonia (6.1%) and diabetes (6.0%), reflecting the situation in the rest of the developed world.

In 2013, generics accounted for 67% of the Taiwanese market by quantity, but only 23% by cost; the same year, a second-generation NHI Act became law. This new NHI Act affects generics in Taiwan, in that it requires the insurer to ‘adjust drug prices based on prevailing market conditions; prices for drugs with patents, which have expired for a year, should start being lowered; and gradual adjustment to reasonable prices should be done within five years based on prevailing market conditions’.

Taiwanese generics firms are gradually making an impression in Taiwan, with three local firms making the top 20 leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country. Generics firm, Yung Shin, was one of six generics makers to receive subsidies from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs to encourage the development of generic drugs.

In 2012, according to IMS data, the country had a pharmaceutical market worth Euros 3.5 billion. This is expected to grow, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.9%, to Euros 4.4 billion by 2017.

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1.   Wang YY. Review and market trends II: Taiwan. IGPA 16th Annual Conference, Brussels, Belgium, 9-11 December 2013.

2.   GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Taiwan too good to be true? []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2014 May 2]. Available from:

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