HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Japan

COVID-19 dampens Japan's pharma market

Reduced healthcare spending will affect multinationals' capabilities to launch new products.

Economic uncertainties brought on by the pandemic will reduce Japan government’s ability to increase spending on pharmaceuticals, a Fitch Solutions report has stated. Although the government released two large supplementary budgets for the country’s economic recovery, Fitch Solutions expects real GDP growth to contract by 5.2% this year.

As a result of Japan’s efforts to curb healthcare spending, bonded with the existing pricing regime, multinational pharmaceutical firms are expected to shy away from launching new products in the near term.

The report cited Astellas Pharma’s revenue in Japan, which came in at US$730m in Q2, down from US$920m in Q2 2019. AstraZeneca’s Q2 sales were also reported to be at $679m, seeing a 2% change in actual terms and 3% change in CER terms.

Other pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, and Sanofi have also experienced sales declines of 2%, 2%, and 13.3%, respectively, the report noted.

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