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J Infect Chemother. 2012 Aug;18(4):421-7. doi: 10.1007/s10156-012-0437-0. Epub 2012 Jun 9.

Generic antibiotics in Japan.

Author information

1
Research Division for Development of Anti-Infective Agents, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University, 4-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8575, Japan. fujimo@idac.tohoku.ac.jp

Abstract

Generic drugs have been used extensively in many developed countries, although their use in Japan has been limited. Generic drugs reduce drug expenses and thereby national medical expenditure. Because generic drugs provide advantages for both public administration and consumers, it is expected that they will be more widely used in the future. However, the diffusion rate of generic drugs in Japan is quite low compared with that of other developed countries. An investigation on generic drugs conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan revealed that 17.2 % of doctors and 37.2 % of patients had not used generic drugs. The major reasons for this low use rate included distrust of off-patent products and lower drug price margin compared with the brand name drug. The generic drugs available in the market include external drugs such as wet packs, antihypertensive agents, analgesics, anticancer drugs, and antibiotics. Among them, antibiotics are frequently used in cases of acute infectious diseases. When the treatment of these infections is delayed, the infection might be aggravated rapidly. The pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics (PK-PD) theory has been adopted in recent chemotherapy, and in many cases, the most appropriate dosage and administration of antibiotics are determined for individual patients considering renal function; high-dosage antibiotics are used preferably for a short duration. Therefore, a highly detailed antimicrobial agent is necessary. However, some of the generic antibiotics have less antibacterial potency or solubility than the brand name products. We showed that the potency of the generic products of vancomycin and teicoplanin is lower than that of the branded drugs by 14.6 % and 17.3 %, respectively. Furthermore, we confirmed that a generic meropenem drug for injection required about 82 s to solubilize in saline, whereas the brand product required only about 21 s. It was thought that the cause may be the difference in size of bulk particle and amount of solubilizer. The Japanese government hopes to increase the diffusion rate of generic drugs (in terms of quantity) from 20.2 % in 2010 to 30 % or more in 2012, and therefore it will be necessary to clarify the advantages of generic antibiotics in terms of expenditure and equivalency with the branded drugs.

PMID:
22684334
DOI:
10.1007/s10156-012-0437-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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