It is argued that Japan is “the best market in the world right now” for foreign drug companies, with many multinational drug firms reporting sales growth of up to 31% in recent years. The increasing attractiveness of Japan’s pharmaceutical market is due to recent decisions taken by the Japanese government to liberalise the Japan’s drugs market in several key areas: For example, the Japanese government has sped up and simplified its review process for new drugs and greatly expanding the funding and capacity of its Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) which is tasked with reviewing new drugs on behalf of the Ministry of Health; in addition, the Japanese Government is reviewing its pricing system for new drugs in order to make it easier for drug companies to pursue research and innovation in Japan; finally, Japanese authorities have announced that 30% of the total volume of drugs sold in Japan should be generics (an objective which Japan is close to attaining), this is expected to further level the playing field between foreign and Japanese drug firms.

The Economist, Health Care in Japan: Regenerative Medicine, 2013

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