Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) suggested that the country’s push to lower prescription costs by switching to generic drugs is forecast to have saved $12.2 billion in fiscal 2017.
The reduction is about 40 percent larger than the savings estimated for fiscal 2015. In 2015, the MHLW unveiled a plan to boost the competitiveness of the country’s pharmaceutical industry, with the government aiming to increase the share of generic drugs used to at least 80 percent by 2020, compared to 46.9 percent in 2013. According to the latest figures from the health ministry, as of the end of September 2017, the share of generic drugs was 65.8 percent.
The move to increase the use of generic drugs is one of a number of measures introduced in Japan to curb rising health care spending, with the government announcing at the end of 2016 plans to review drug prices annually instead of once every two years, with the review to include all prescription medicines.