• Global Guy

Japan Bioscience + Medtech Sectors

Japanese health indicators are excellent with the longest life and among the lowest infant mortality rates in the world but an aging population presents particular challenges for policy makers. The disease profile is changing, with rising cancer and heart disease, as people live longer, modify their traditional diet and become more sedentary. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) revealed that the largest single cause of death was cancer, followed by stroke and heart disease.


The latest available data shows that the top-selling therapeutic drugs in Japan continue to be those for cardiovascular disorders. Costly diseases such as cancer,stroke and Alzheimer's disease are becoming more prevalent, while the emphasis up to now has been on primary care and prevention of, for example obesity.


The Japanese pharmaceutical market was worth around US$96.5 billion in 2010 and the second largest in the world after USA but its growth rate is stagnating. The market is likely to split in two: high-end drugs that qualify for top prices and generics. Generics offer great opportunities as the government is backing them more vigorously and educating reluctant patients on the merits of unbranded versions to face the growing healthcare bill.


Investing in Japan can be advantageous for R&D comapnies in USA because it is a mature, safe market with relatively low competition from generics and OTC and low parallel imports. However the generics are growing and price cuts during patent periods eat into profits.


Japan is an economic powerhouse and its medical device market is one of the largest in the world. The Japanese medical device industry was valued at US$28.1 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow steadily through 2020, when it should reach over US$31.7 billion. Japan has a robust domestic manufacturing market.


Many major Japanese producers are well-known outside Japan. Yet, the majority of the medical devices used in the Japanese healthcare system are imported from other markets. Despite Japan's reputation as a hub of technological innovation, there is still opportunity for US manufacturers in the medical device sector.


Japan has a very large aging demographic : over 25% of the Japanese population is older than 65. This market is a very attractive market for US manufacturers, especially those marketing devices used in treating lifestyle and age-related conditions. There is strong demand for interventional cardiology equipment, pacemakers, orthopedic implants, home care, preventative care and innovative technologies.


The Japanese regulatory process can be lengthy and expensive. Regulations and documents are published almost exclusively in Japanese and PMD Act imposes strict requirement and clinical standards for foreign manufacturers. An experienced regulatory partner with a presence in Japan is essential. US manufacturers can also expect hefty competition from domestic manufacturers. Japan is home to leading consumer technology companies that also design medical devices. The greatest competition is in diagnostic imaging, therapeutic and surgical equipment, biophenomena measuring and monitoring sysytems, home therapeutics, dialyzers and endoscopes.


Smart healthcare products market by product type ( electric health record, smart RFID cabinets, smart pills, smart syringes) and by industry verticals ( inventory management, monitoring management, health data storage and exchange) may have a good opportunity in future. Smart system includes various functions such as controlling, actuation and sensing. These are used to analyze and describe a situation and take any decision based on the present data in adaptive manner or predictive manner so that it performs smart actions. Smart system also depends upon network capabilities, energy efficiency and closed loop control. In the healthcare division smart healthcare system tools guide to enhance treatment, diagnostic tools and qualty of life for patients. At the same time it is also reducing the cost of community healthcare organization.

© 2018 by Global Strategy, Inc.

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