FiercePharmaAsia: Japan’s drug pricing review, Pfizer’s Pakistan plant, and Perrigo’s API plant sale

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This week, Japan's drug pricing policy, Pfizer and Perrigo made the news.

Welcome to this week’s FiercePharmaAsia weekly wrap-up. Japan is looking to change its drug pricing reevaluation frequency from once every two years to at least once every year, as the government tries to contain healthcare expenditures. Pfizer is negotiating with local drugmaker ICI Pakistan to sell one of its two manufacturing plants in Karachi. Perrigo is selling its FDA-cleared API plant in India for about $14.8 million due to financial pressure from investors.

1. Opdivo price cut may be just the beginning as Japan looks to expedite drug pricing reviews

Japan’s medical spending has been growing for 13 consecutive years, in large part because of the prices of new drugs. The country’s per capita pharmaceutical spending has reached $752 per year, which has surpassed many other developed markets except for the U.S. The fast growth of the biopharma industry and the rising healthcare spending as a consequence has led the Japanese government to decide to review drug prices more frequently. It recently slashed the price of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo in half. Also a team of advisers to the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy has submitted recommendations to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that include reviewing drug prices in Japan at least annually. If approved, the new proposal could take effect as early as fiscal 2018.

2. Pfizer trying to sell Pakistan plant

Pakistan can be a difficult environment to navigate for drugmakers, especially with pricing issues and concerns over ingredients. After reviewing the company’s capacity and supply needs in Pakistan, Pfizer has decided to sell a manufacturing plant run by Wyeth Pakistan, which Pfizer acquired in 2009. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The probable buyer, ICI Pakistan, intends to keep at least some of the plant’s current profile, including antifungal, cold and flu meds and tuberculosis drug Myrin. Pfizer is keeping another site operated by Pfizer Pakistan in Karachi, saying that it’s still committed to the market.

3. Perrigo offloads India plant to Strides Shasun

Perrigo has recently come under pressure from investors to improve its finances, and to do that, the pharma is now trying to raise money by selling an FDA-cleared API plant in India. The plant in Ambernath, India, valued at $42.6 million, will be bought by India’s Strides Shasun at a price of about $14.8 million. This is not the company’s first attempt to polish its performance this year. Just a few days ago, it announced a restructuring plan of its Omega Pharma Belgium business which involves cutting about 80 jobs.