Future of Ethical Drugs in Japan: Key Research Findings 2021

Production of Ethical Drugs Forecasted to Reach 10,046.0 Billion Yen by 2028

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the ethical drugs market, and showed perspectives of market trends including production output for 2028.

Summary of Research Findings

Yano Research Institute forecasts the production value (including imported products) of ethical drugs based on data including “Statistics of Production by Pharmaceutical Industry” by MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.) The advanced economies are likely to press ahead with cutting medical spending furthermore. Japan is no exception, but faces a challenge of how to cope with rapid progress in falling birthrate as well as in aging population. The forecast must take into consideration about the reforms of medical system and revisions of prescription drug price system significantly influence medicine demand in this tight national finance. As a result, the ethical drug production value is forecasted to attain 11,079.0 billion yen in 2020, 10,407.0 billion yen by 2024, and 10,046.0 billion yen by 2028.

On the other hand, the market size has become difficult to forecast just from the conventional methods and past tendencies, because of increasing demand for generic drugs, adoption of the system to recalculate market expansion for high-price drugs, and annual revisions of the drug pricing system. When observing the transition of production values by drug efficacy for the past decade, anticancer agents, antidiabetic drugs and other medicines that are needed in the aging society have shown stable sales. Cardiovascular drugs have been in difficult conditions, but the production value has been maintained for a certain level. If expansion of drug demand by company efforts is estimated to exceed medical spending via the reforms of the medical system and revisions of drug price system, the market perspectives will be quite different.

Noteworthy Topics

Does DX Become Keyword in New Normal?

In the domestic pharmaceutical industry, Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. newly established Digital Transformation Management Division in April 2020. Other companies that have made similar efforts from early on were Astellas Pharma Inc., Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Shionogi & Co., Ltd., Eisai Co., Ltd., Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, etc., though their respective organizational names may differ.

In the pharmaceutical industry worldwide, digital technologies have become practically used through the development of digital therapeutics and patient support apps. Because all the pharmaceutical companies have the “patient-first” idea, enhancement of digital transformation (DX) is a natural trend.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies in Japan are expected to drive proactive recruitment of IT personnel. Because acquiring highly skilled working resources has been fiercely competitive in every industry, many enterprises are required to prepare good annual income for such skilled workers regardless of how young they may be. Therefore, increasing number of Japanese major enterprises has established a subsidiary with different wage systems to adopt them. Some pharmaceutical companies may have to build the same system like major companies. There are companies such as Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma and AGC that are trying to train existing human resources to make them data scientists, but it is not easy. It can even develop into a global competition, where the cost for acquiring competent digital personnel can exceed the operating expenses.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: April 2020 to February 2021
2.Research Object: Administrative authorities, pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers, medical institutions, dispensing pharmacies, persons of learning and experience, persons in industrial paper etc.
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews (including online interviews) by the expert researchers, and literature research

The Ethical Drug Market

The ethical drug market in this research refers to the market that consists of ethical drugs produced or imported in Japan.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Ethical drug

Published Report

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