Updated on 24 July 2013
How to get Japan out of its 'stifled innovation' mode?
Dr Iwamoto said that in order to innovate and to grow, a company should create business leaders, who have experience and can deal with the diverse aspects of business and in diverse regions of the world. Dr Iwamoto, who formerly faced a tough time working with US firm Syntex due to his English language barrier, said that he follows the success mantra put forward by best selling author Mr Jack Welsh - being full of Energy, Energize his team mates, Being on the Edge all the time in terms of idea generation, Execute his protocols and work with Passion.
He further added that leaders should not only "act" on protocols but also "produce" the best methodologies. He said that the best way to innovate is to change oneself and create something new. "Innovation is not development of technology, it is what you can develop in order to meet the demands of your customer," said Dr Iwamoto.
While speaking about innovation, Mr Alvarez, said that providing access to innovation was equally important. He said, "What is the use of producing the best vaccine, if people don't have access to it." While speaking to BioSpectrum Asia, Mr Alvarez also said, "The life science industry behaves differently depending on which region of the world you are located in. The definition of innovation keeps changing from one country to another." He also said that innovation is only as good as the customers, who are willing to pay for it.
Mr Sakai, who wore the hat of a neutral industry analyst, said that for large firms to succeed in today's stiff competition, one needs to venture into markets where the economic growth is far higher than the healthcare expenditure. He said, "If healthcare costs far outrun the rate at which the economy of a country is growing, it would lead to a crash in the system." He suggested that its time for Japanese firms to leave the island nation and venture into more potential markets like that of China and India. He also mentioned that hindrances such as the application of additional three percent consumption tax on drugs from April 2014, influx of generics, premium on Japan's new drug pricing policy and substantial deductions in operating profits will only make the prevalent scenario worse for the pharma industry in Japan.
The problems ahead
Although the high levels of energy, enthusiasm and display of technology at the mega event portrayed that the Japanese are very serious about fueling innovation in their life science industry, the fact that it is facing several hindrances from the point of view of policy and will face many such challenges in the near future is certainly a cause of concern.