Japan has the world’s third largest pharma industry. Yet, for many international companies the market has not proved easy to access. Very high barriers to entry have combined with a historically insular domestic market to limit opportunities. This is now changing. Japan’s domestic market is looking increasingly at exports, and international companies are seeking opportunities to invest in and access the large, well-funded healthcare system.
Japan is enjoying its longest sustained period of growth in over a decade. The pharmaceutical sector is forecast to reach $72 billion by 20211, representing 17% growth between 2011–2020. An aging population and broad access to healthcare are the driving factors. With over 100 domestic pharma companies, such a fragmented market is likely to develop into an acquisitional environment, particularly with internationals looking to enter.