May 23, 2017 / 2:06 AM / 3 months ago

Japan to bring forward target for increased generic drug use: sources

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will bring forward a target to boost the use of generic drugs by six months to September 2020, two government sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The rapidly aging nation is aiming to lift the use of generics to more than 80 percent from around 56 percent currently - a move that would save the government hundreds of billions of yen a year, the sources said.

The government will set the target early next month as part of its annual key economic and fiscal policy guidelines, the sources added, declining to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

A representative for the Health Ministry, which oversees policy on generic drugs, was not immediately available for comment.

Eager to rein in ballooning healthcare costs, Japan, which is the world's third-largest market for prescription drugs, said in December it would step up the pace and expand the scope of drug price reviews.

Reporting by Takaya Yamguchi; Writing by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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