【Magic words to reduce prescription drug costs】 Let’s use generic drugs


In this article, I will explain how to make medicines prescribed in hospitals cheaper.  Please note that drugs sold at drug stores (called over-the-counter drugs) are not covered. Also, because the cost of medicine is covered by insurance, it is often cheaper to get a prescription at a hospital than to buy it at a drug store.

How much will the drug cost be cheaper?

When comparing the prices of generic drugs and new drugs, the drug cost will be 20% to 70% cheaper.

Example 1)

When the price of a new drug is 1000 yen, 20% cheaper 

800 yen when switching to generic drugs

Example 2)

When the price of a new drug is 2000 yen, 50% cheaper

1000 yen when switching to generic drugs

If you search with Genecal, you can quickly see how much it will be cheaper to change the medicine you usually take to a generic drug with the same ingredients.  Of course, searching is free. You have to search in Japanese, but you can just enter the label on the medicine package as it is, so please give it a try.

Complete Guide to Buying Japaneses Medicine in Japan

Trial calculation procedure

Access to Genecal

Tap the acronym for the drug you want to look up

Select the drug you want to look up from the list

It is displayed in Japanese abc order.

Check the amount in the red line column.

Change the pull-down to the number of days prescribed to see more detailed savings.

What is a generic drug?

A new drug that a pharmaceutical company has researched and developed, obtained a patent, and has been sold is called a “new drug (original drug)”.  It is said that it takes 2 to 3 years for basic research, 3 to 5 years for non-clinical trials, 3 to 7 years for clinical trials, and 1 to 2 years for approval application and examination, for a total of 9 to 17 years. It will be developed over the years and at a cost of over tens of billions of yen.

Therefore, the company that developed the patent will be given a patent term of 20 to 25 years from the date of application by filing and registering the patent.  During that period, you have the exclusive right to manufacture and sell the drug.  However, after the patent’s term expires, other pharmaceutical companies will be able to manufacture and sell drugs using the same active ingredients.  That is generic drug .

Compared to new drugs, the development cost and development period are shorter, so the price is lower than new drugs.  Since products approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare as having the same quality as new drugs are sold as generic drugs, the types of active ingredients and the amount of active ingredients contained in generic drugs are the same as those of new drugs.

Since the shape, color, taste, and additives of the medicine may be changed, the appearance and additives may differ, but the efficacy and safety of the active ingredient are not different.

Generic drugs remain as effective and safe as new drugs, and hospital prescriptions can be cheaper than they are now.
* If a generic drug is prescribed from the beginning or if the patent for a new drug has not expired, the drug cost will not be cheaper.

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How to get a generic drug prescribed

It’s very easy.  This is the magic word that makes prescription drug costs cheaper.
When giving the prescription to the staff at the pharmacy, please tell them as follows.


Can I get generics? / ジェネリックでお願(ねが)いできますか?

With just this one word, the cost of medicine may be cheaper. Also, when your health insurance card is issued, you may get a generic sticker, so put that sticker on the front of your health insurance card.  Just do so and you can buy generics.


That’s all for this article. The cost of medicine will be cheaper with just a very simple procedure, so please try it.


Renato Sjostrand

Those are yours alright! . We at least need to get these people stealing images to start blogging! They probably just did a image search and grabbed them. They look good though!


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