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Japan Joins Trump in Drug Price War Crimping Pharma Profits

  • Government cut price of Bristol-Myers, Ono cancer drug by 50%
  • Some see drug investment potentially shifting outside Japan
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Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
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President Donald Trump has pledged to reverse what he describes as "astronomical" drug prices in the U.S. Thousands of miles away, Japan, long a profit sanctuary for multinational pharmaceutical companies, is taking a similar tack.

About $93 billion is spent annually on medications in Japan, and the government plays a key role on prices because it covers about 40 percent of the country’s health spending via its national insurance scheme. In December, officials announced plans to review drug prices more frequently: annually for all therapies and quarterly for the newest and most expensive ones that are used widely.