Skip to content
IHE Report
Hofmarcher T, Keel G, Lindgren P

Pricing policies for off-patent drugs in Asia-Pacific

This is the fifth sub-report of the main report “Cancer care and access to cancer drugs in Asia-Pacific”.

It describes pricing policies for off-patent cancer drugs and savings to be made in 14 countries and locations (called “markets” in the report) in Asia-Pacific. They are grouped into 7 high-income markets (Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan) and 7 middle-income markets (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam).

The sub-report provides a comparative analysis of the 14 markets. The main findings are:

1. Policies surrounding off-patent pricing mechanisms affect the magnitude of price decreases following patent expiry of originator drugs. Large price drops for widely prescribed drugs could generate substantial savings. Many markets could better exploit off-patent policies to control pharmaceutical expenditure.

2. Predominantly, all markets adopt off-patent policies to increase market uptake of generics and biosimilars, and thus curb pharmaceutical spending. Even though prices of originator drugs overwhelmingly fall after patent expiry (or loss of exclusivity), the magnitudes of the price drops vary substantially across drugs and markets.

3. All markets could save from 5% to 20% of total cancer drug expenditure, if more effective* off-patent pricing mechanisms are adopted, drawing on a sample of 11 major cancer drugs with patent loss between 2010 and 2020.

4. An effective reduction of prices creates budget headroom for reimbursing new innovative drugs. Ultimately, an effective re-channeling of resources from off-patent drugs to new innovative drugs could offer a more sustainable financing model of innovative drugs.

* Effectiveness is here defined as achieving the lowest possible absolute price for the originator drug after patent expiry or loss of exclusivity.

The report was funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD). Responsibility for the analysis, interpretations, and conclusions, as well as errors or omissions lies solely with the authors.

Previously published IHE Reports on cancer care and access to cancer drugs in Asia-Pacific:

Cancer care and access to cancer drugs in Asia-Pacific – Introduction
IHE Report 2021:3a, IHE: Lund, Sweden

Cancer care and access to cancer drugs in Asia-Pacific – Executive summary
IHE Report 2021:3b, IHE: Lund, Sweden

The burden of cancer in Asia-Pacific
IHE Report 2021:3c, IHE: Lund, Sweden

Health spending on cancer in Asia-Pacific
IHE Report 2021:3d, IHE: Lund, Sweden

Patient access to innovative cancer drugs in Asia-Pacific
IHE Report 2021:3e, IHE: Lund, Sweden

Health spending on cancer drugs and unmet patient needs in Asia-Pacific
IHE Report 2021:3f, IHE: Lund, Sweden

For more information, please contact Thomas Hofmarcher

IHE Report 2021:3g, IHE: Lund, Sweden