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Thomson Reuters Explores the Opportunities and Challenges of Entering the Japanese Generic Drug Market

PHILADELPHIA and LONDON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Thomson Reuters announced today the publication of a white paper identifying opportunities and challenges facing foreign companies interested in entering the Japanese generic drug market.

The white paper, titled "The Japanese generic drug market: opportunities and strategies for success," notes that a combination of major patent expirations prior to 2012, a rapidly aging population and wide-ranging government initiatives to reduce healthcare spending are making the Japanese generic drugs sector increasingly attractive to foreign manufacturers.

Mark Garlinghouse, senior vice president, Asia-Pacific, at Thomson Reuters, said, "As Japan's generic market is beginning to expand, market growth rates in established generic markets such as Europe and the United States are trending downward sending generic drug companies seeking opportunities to enter new markets. Japan is the world's second largest pharmaceutical market; however, at present generics make up only 6.6 percent of its prescription drug sales."

The white paper explores the probable impact of the recent change in government in Japan on the generic industry. The incoming Democratic Party of Japan has signaled that it intends to continue to support the promotion of generic pharmaceuticals; however, in its July 2009 manifesto, the party claimed that "even though generics are judged to be equivalent to the brand-name drug, the current tests for equivalence are insufficient, and we will promote the collection of additional information to be used in further evaluation of generics."

"We don't know yet what form this 'additional information' and 'further evaluation' will take," Garlinghouse said, "but it will likely mean that generic regulation in Japan could become even tighter. The Japanese market is very focused on quality and only those companies with a proven quality track record can hope to succeed there."

While the market for generics in Japan offers opportunity, foreign drug companies seeking to enter it face significant challenges. The white paper offers recommendations to those opportunity seekers:

  • Don't go it alone. In-country experience, brand reputation, and personal relationships offered by domestic partners are vital to success.
  • Reach out to physicians to promote the value of generic drugs. While public awareness of generic drugs is increasing in Japan, many patients are still reluctant to ask physicians to prescribe generics and many physicians continue be suspicious of generic drugs.
  • Have a spotless quality record. The Japanese market's focus on quality will make it difficult for those generic companies that have run afoul overseas to make inroads in Japan.

The white paper can be found at

Thomson Reuters draws on the unique intelligence of Newport Premium(TM) and Thomson Pharma® to reveal exactly what's happening in the Japanese generic drug market, predicts how it may change under the incoming DPJ administration, and details the strategies that companies must follow if they are to succeed.

About Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: TRI) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TRI). For more information, go to

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