Shaking off Japan's R&D jitters


Despite a slowing in growth over recent years and some key issues, the Japanese pharmaceutical market continues to offer huge potential, according to Dr Faiz Kermani of leading independent clinical research organization, Chiltern International.

The Japanese pharmaceutical market remains the third largest in the world after the United States and Europe. However, in recent times, Japanese companies have made significant efforts to establish themselves abroad, increasing overseas investment for example. This approach, however, has proved beneficial to their foreign rivals, who have made significant inroads.

"The Japanese pharmaceutical market is at an interesting stage of development," explained Dr Kermani. "Although its growth has slowed in recent years, there is potentially a great demand for new medicines, driven largely by the ageing of the population.

"From an industry perspective, the government has focussed too heavily on cost containment measures to control healthcare expenditure and this has lessened incentives for domestic companies to carry our research and development.

"Furthermore, it places the domestic industry in a weak position to challenge foreign rivals that are increasing their presence in the country. New medical products will be required by Japanese society in the future and the question is how much of a contribution Japanese companies will be able to make to meet this demand. As in Europe, the Japanese government will have to find a way to reward its domestic industry for its research efforts while simultaneously trying to control the rising costs of healthcare."

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