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Next stop for Indian pharma companies should be Japan

Japan continues to be one of the largest pharmaceutical markets in the globe only behind US and China. The country of 12-13 crores population and have greatest potential in pharmaceutical despite difficult demographic landscape. Life expectancy of Japanese population is higher in the world which is almost 80 years for male and 87 years for female. Older people need more medicine and this is the fundamental of pharmaceutical industry in the Japan.

Due to older growing population, Japanese government is very active to approve newer medicines, from local and foreign pharma companies, faster in the market. The Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) is a Japanese governmental organization, similar in function to the FDA in the United States and CDSCO in India. Since 2010 PMDA was the slowest in the world for new drugs approval. And till 2015, PMDA became faster approving agency in the world. Now, the new drug approval time is lesser in the world by PMDA. 

The PMD (for pharmaceutical and medical devices) Act 2014 is proved to be a real booster for new drugs approval. Even Japanese said some drug approvals in Japan are now faster than in both Europe and the U.S. This is a marked change from the days when Japan was seen as a difficult market for foreign companies.

According to CPhl report, the growth of Japanese Pharma Market is driven by Biologics and Generic Drugs. To reduce healthcare costs, the government of Japan is promoting the use of generics as a cost-containment tool. Cost containment is the business practice of maintaining expense levels to prevent unnecessary spending or thoughtfully reducing expenses to improve profitability without long-term damage to the company. There is greatest opportunity for Indian generic manufacturers in the Japan market. Half of local Japanese pharma companies are targeting US, China and Korea but very few are considering to enter in Europe.

It is strange that Indian pharma companies are keen to do business in US, UK and Canada but they are lagging behind to enter in Japan market. India’s trade deficit with Japan has widened to $5.9 billion in 2016-17 against $2.7 billion in 2013-14. A trade deficit is an economic measure of international trade in which a country's imports exceeds its exports. And it has adverse effects on country's stock or forex market. It is a serious issue that Indian Pharma companies are showing negative growth in Japan which is 3rd largest pharmaceutical market on the globe.

The negative growth is primarily due to language curtailment, quality of products, lack of proper business model and rigorous effort needed from pharmaceutical industries.

For getting successful access in Japan, first of all Indian pharmaceutical companies have to be language proficient by adopting high level language training.
Well, quality of Indian medicines is always an issue. This has to be achieve by stringent quality control of not only export quality medicines but also for indigenous medicines. Proper business strategy and efforts are needed at last.

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