Fujifilm aims for Japanese generics market

It looks as if Big Pharma companies aiming for big sales in Japan will have some more competition. Fujifilm Holdings and Mitsubishi are planning to set up a joint venture to make--you guessed it--generic drugs, Nikkei reports. Majority-owned by Fujifilm, the venture aims to be selling 200 products as soon as this spring, the news service reported. The companies themselves wouldn't comment.

This news comes on the heels of at least two major drugmakers pledging to grow Japanese sales big-time. Pfizer recently said it aims to be the No. 1 generic drugmaker in Japan. And GlaxoSmithKline chief Andrew Witty recently said that Japan can be a big market for his company, too.

Why the rush to Japanese generics? Well, the Japanese government is alarmed by fast-rising healthcare costs. And to save money it has instituted some new rules designed to funnel patients toward copycat meds. Its goal is to grow generics' share of the drug market to 30 percent by 2012, up from 20 percent at the end of 2009. Hence the drugmakers lining up to help them do it.

- read the Bloomberg story