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Japan becomes a new frontier

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is boosting production capacity for generics to be sold in Japan.

TOKYO -- Leading generic-drug makers are ready to tap into the Japanese market. The government in Tokyo recently moved to promote more use of generics in the country. It aims to raise the share of generic drug prescriptions to 80% between fiscal 2018 and 2020. The policy may change the power dynamics among foreign and Japanese drugmakers.

     South African generics maker Aspen Pharmacare Holdings on Wednesday launched operations in Japan. Aspen Japan plans to sell five generics in the country, including anti-cancer drugs. Generic drugs are copies of original brand-name medicines for which the patents have expired. Aspen will obtain permission to sell in Japan from U.K.-based GlaxoSmithKline and U.S.-based Merck, the original drugmakers. Aspen targets sales of around 6 billion yen ($48.2 million) in the first year.

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