Historically, brand-name pharmaceuticals have enjoyed long periods of market exclusivity in Japan, given the limited use of generics after patent expiration. To improve the efficiency of the health-care system, however, the government has recently implemented various policies aimed at increasing generic substitution. Although this has created expectations that the Japanese generic drug market may finally take off, to date, generic usage has increased only modestly. After reviewing the incentives of key market participants to choose generics, we argue that previous government policies did not provide proper incentives for pharmacies to boost generic substitution. We offer some recommendations that may help to increase generic usage.
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