Drug pricing system

Since 2015, including the drastic reform of NHI price system in 2018, the predictability of the Japanese pharmaceuticals market and the attractiveness of the market have been significantly reduced and drug lags and drug losses have become apparent due to repeated revisions of the rules for calculating NHI prices, including the introduction of Off-year revisions and a review of the scope of the PMP. In 2022, an expert panel on comprehensive measures to realise a rapid and stable supply of pharmaceuticals was set up within the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) to make a comprehensive proposal.


  • The NHI drug price system should be reviewed in line with the recommendations of the expert panel, and drug lags and drug losses should be eliminated.
  • The rules for calculating the price of new drugs should be designed to ensure that innovation is properly evaluated and to avoid significantly lower drug prices in Japan compared to those in Europe and the US.
  • For post-launch, a system should be established whereby drug prices are basically maintained during the patent period, as in Europe and the US.
  • The current rules for calculating NHI drug prices have become a very complicated system due to repeated reviews, and should be revised to a simpler, easier-to-understand and more transparent system.