The Japanese Government has been trying to promote use of generic drugs since 2007. The idea is that higher non-branded prescribing rates will cut public healthcare costs and reduce the financial burden faced by patients.
These efforts – which intensified last year – have had some impact, although generic drug use has not increased as quickly as expected.
Despite this, the initiatives have already attracted Big Pharma firms interested in capturing a share of the market through acquisitions and partnerships.
The Indian generic drug and active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) industry – specifically the trade group the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) – has also been lured by the promise of Japanese generic cash.
Gurpreet Sandhu, managing director of Reva Pharma, told CPhI Japan delegates that India is now a major generics supplier explaining that: “We as a nation were primarily making API, today we a country called on for product development, things have changed in the last eight to ten years.”
He used Indian firm Lupin as an example of this evolution.
“Lupin was an API manufacturing company in India… today is the big player in Japan’s generics market as a result of acquisitions” Sandhu said, also citing firms like Dr. Reddy’s Aurobindo and Indian firms that have grown in the country.
He also predicted that: “In the next 12 months…you will have a major acquisition [in Japan] by Sun Pharma” explaining that this personal view is based on his own research.
Sun recently acquired fellow Indian firm Ranbaxy from Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo.
In addition to banging the drum for his country’s generics sector, Sandhu also cautioned Japanese delegates about the potential pitfalls of working with Indian companies.
“If you want get work done by an Indian, bind him with a contract and a penalty clause. If knows he has to pay if he doesn’t deliver by a certain date he will deliver” he said, adding that “if we have to grow together I have to tell you about the negatives.”