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Medical drug production value Japan 2009-2018

The total production value of medical drugs in Japan amounted to approximately 6.9 trillion Japanese yen in 2018, an increase from around 6.72 trillion yen in the previous year. Prescription drugs represent the staple products of the medical drug market, accounting for almost 90 percent of the annual production value.

Domestic pharmaceutical industry

Surpassed by only the United States and China, the pharmaceutical market in Japan is one of the largest worldwide. Major domestic key players include multinational businesses competing on a global scale. Following the acquisition of Shire, the Tokyo-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. was forecasted to join the ranks as a leading pharmaceutical company worldwide.

While the industry is subjected to extensive regulatory stipulations and long approval processes, the Japanese government has been working on a simplified framework to accelerate research and development efforts in the country. The transformation of the market offers domestic and foreign competitors a variety of opportunities, with the challenges of an aging society becoming a key driver for future growth.

Demographic challenges turning to opportunities

The high life expectancy of the population raises new challenges for the healthcare system, coupled with an increasing demand for medical treatment. In particular generics, commonly used in the treatment of elderly patients, are growing in importance. In 2018, cardiovascular agents, a drug used in the treatment of heart and circulatory system-related diseases, accounted for the largest share of medical drug production in Japan.

Total value of medical drug production in Japan from 2009 to 2018

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Release date

August 2019



Survey time period

2009 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Figures have been rounded.
1 Japanese yen equals 0.0093 U.S. dollars or 0.0084 euros as of March 2020.

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Statistics on "Pharmaceutical industry in Japan "

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