Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 347, August 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


The blockbuster impotence drug Viagra could be officially launched in Japan during the first half of 1999. Manufacturer PFIZER INC. said that the Ministry of Health and Welfare promised an accelerated review of its late July marketing application. If approved, Viagra would be covered by the national health insurance system. Pfizer is moving faster than some analysts expected to get Viagra on the market, in part because of the big black market that has sprung up in Japan for the little blue pill.

ALLERGAN, INC. has given SANTEN PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. exclusive rights to distribute brimonidine — eye drops for the treatment of glaucoma that the Irvine, California company markets internationally under the brand name of Alphagan. Brimonidine is a selective alpha2 agonist that lowers intraocular pressure. Santen Pharmaceutical, Japan's largest manufacturer of ophthalmic drugs, is responsible for obtaining MHW marketing approval for brimonidine as well as for future product development. Allergan will manufacture brimonidine for sale in Japan. Its distributor will pay a percentage of revenues from sales of the product as well as a royalty for use of the Alphagan trade name. The American company retains the right to copromote or comarket brimonidine.

Pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical trials in Japan will have access next year to a new patient recruiting tool when QUINTILES TRANSNATIONAL CORP. introduces its Medical Activity Communication program. Through videotaped and written information, it helps firms enlist people in their clinical studies by informing them of such issues as the nature of the therapy being tested and the participating clinical sites. Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based Quintiles provides contract pharmaceutical services related to drug development and sales and marketing.

Weekly rather than monthly market intelligence now is available to IMS HEALTH's client pharmaceutical houses in Japan. The Westport, Connecticut firm's subsidiary has lined up virtually all of the country's pharmaceutical wholesalers to report daily sales data to it at the close of business each day. Averaging more than 1.9 million records every day, this information is coded and processed overnight at IMS Health's in-house computer facility. It then is compiled into weekly market data and released to clients each Wednesday for the previous week.

RO-59, INC. named TAF INTERNATIONAL CORP. to sell its bonded lubricant coating. The Stoughton, Massachusetts maker's product combines the durability advantages of bonding with the lubrication properties of Teflon in an easy-to-use, water-based formula. Designed for wherever friction is a problem, RO-59 deposits a thin, dry, firmly bonded Teflon lubricant coating to most metals as well as some ceramics and plastics. The Tokyo distributor, which is in the computer trading business, is targeting RO-59 marketing at manufacturers of keyboards. It has projected first-year sales at $709,200.

An exchange rate of ¥141=$1.00 was used in this report.

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