The Japanese Pharmaceutical Industry
Its Evolution and Current Challenges
By Maki Umemura
Routledge – 2011 – 190 pages
This book explores why Japan, despite being a world leader in many high technology industries such as automobiles and consumer electronics, is only a minor player in the global pharmaceutical industry. Japan provides a huge market for pharmaceuticals as the second largest consumer of prescription drugs after the United States, and is a massive importer of prescription drugs, relying on discoveries made elsewhere. This book charts the development of the industry, from the devastation resulting from the Second World War to its performance in the present day. Focusing in particular on antibiotics and anticancer drugs, the book analyses factors that have prevented Japan from leading the rapid advances in science and technology that have occurred globally over recent decades. Looking at the pharmaceutical industry, the book argues that the Japanese government’s research and development policies were not sufficiently incentivising. It also shows how the nature of capitalism in Japan - which featured close relations between government and industry as well as between and within firms - was appropriate for nurturing industrial development in the immediate post-war decades, but became much less effective in later years.
'The Japanese Pharmaceutical Industry is an ambitious, broad-ranging analysis of the postwar history of an industry whose eight per cent share of Japanese manufacturing understates its significance in terms of health and as a barometer for science-based innovation.' - Robert Kneller, University of Tokyo; Journal of Japanese Studies, 2013.
1. Introduction: Why didn’t Japan become a global leader in pharmaceuticals? 2. A historical overview of Japan’s pharmaceutical industry 3. Developing a modern industry: The antibiotics sector 4. What went wrong? The anticancer drug sector 5. Conclusion: Reconsidering Japan’s business in pharmaceuticals
Maki Umemura is a lecturer in Japanese studies at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, UK.