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Towa Pharma to step into US with easy-swallow pills

OSAKA -- Japanese generic-drug maker Towa Pharmaceutical will enter the American market by fiscal 2018, banking on its pills that can be taken without water.

The Osaka company will seek approval with U.S. authorities for orally disintegrating tablets manufactured with the Ractab technology. The market is particularly competitive as many generics ingredients are mass-produced in such emerging countries as India.

"In price competition, there is no way of winning," President Itsuro Yoshida said. But Towa may stand a chance "if the product's convenience is recognized," Yoshida said.

The company is strong in technologies to control drug particle size and offers hypertension and diabetes treatments manufactured with the Ractab technology in Japan. The lineup in the U.S. has yet to be set, and sales will likely be contracted out to pharmaceutical sales companies there.

Other Japanese generics producers have their eyes on the American market. Sawai Pharmaceutical plans to sell generics there starting in 2017, while Nichi-iko Pharmaceutical will use a U.S. subsidiary purchased this summer to sell biosimilars.

Japanese pharmaceutical companies face strong pressure to cut prices, and generics makers are seeking opportunities abroad as business conditions back home grow harsher.

(Nikkei)

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