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Japan to conduct annual reviews of drug prices

The Japanese government unveiled plans to review drug prices annually, instead of its current process to review prices every two years, in a bid to cut healthcare costs, Reuters reported Dec. 20.

In addition, all prescription drugs will now be subject to the review. Previously, the government only reviewed prices of drugs whose official price differed widely from the price paid by wholesalers, according to Reuters.

The next review will reportedly take place in 2018, and annual reviews will commence thereafter.

Japan's decision comes after the recent proposal of drug price reforms by advisers to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The reforms also follow the government-mandated price cuts to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s cancer drug Opdivo and Gilead Sciences Inc.'s hepatitis C medicine Sovaldi.