Our value creation story

As a healthcare corporate group continually growing with society

Our value creation story

Providing high-quality healthcare services to even more people

As the leading generic drug company, we strive to provide a stable supply of high-quality generic drugs and support the healthy lives of people.
We are also taking on the challenge of evolving into a general healthcare company by developing new businesses.

Our value creation story Our value creation story

Value creation activities and Sawai’s strengths

Research and development

Strength 1Ability to undertake research and analysis of original drug patents

By utilizing both human assets with extensive experience in patent trials and proceedings and a proprietary database that includes information on patents and proceedings in Japan and overseas, we implement an extremely sophisticated patent strategy. We develop the optimal patent strategy for new issues in collaboration with patent attorneys in Japan and overseas who possess broad knowledge of pharmaceuticals.

In recent years, we have also been keeping an eye on intellectual property trends in the U.S. and Europe and leverage those trends for our intellectual property strategy for Japan. In particular, it is possible to learn a lot from applying for paragraph IV certification in the U.S., and this is a major asset that supports future business activities, which is one of our strengths.

  • Number of patents held 45 Sawai Pharmaceutical

Strength 2Formulation technology capabilities based on human assets with expertise in API properties and formulation technology

Another of our Group’s strengths is our formulation technology capabilities, one aspect of which is collecting the latest information related to APIs and formulation from throughout the world, and this makes it possible to conduct development in line with international harmonization. Furthermore, we have increased the certainty of our product launches by continually revising and bringing forward development plans. Even while busy with product development, we actively take on the challenge of research linked to future development topics and aggressively work to accumulate and expand our formulation technology.

We will provide drugs that meet the needs of healthcare professionals and patients and introduce first-of-their-kind products using SAWAI HARMOTECH®, a series of formulation technologies born from this research.

  • R&D expenses : ¥12.5 billion Sawai Pharmaceutical
  • Number of R&D Division staff : 295 Sawai Pharmaceutical

SAWAI HARMOTECH® Sawai Pharmaceutical’s main formulation technology


Strength 1Strong new product API research and procurement abilities

As for APIs used in new development, we undertake various activities such as searching for APIs throughout the world, examining production facilities, quality, etc., and conducting analysis and trial production of pharmaceuticals using samples of these APIs. We use APIs that meet our own standards, which are even higher than those of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The API Sourcing Group provides support for research and procurement through its specialists in purchasing, including members with experience at new drug manufacturers, API trading companies, and Sawai factories.

  • Suppliers : Procure a wide range of raw materials from around 500 companies in 30 countries throughout the world

Strength 2Selection and procurement of raw materials with primary emphasis on quality and safety

In order to deliver even higher quality generic drugs, we inspect the factories of API manufacturers, particularly the Quality Assurance Department. Furthermore, we confirm that API manufacturers’ quality management systems meet Sawai standards by checking that the Production Department undertakes manufacturing in an appropriate environment and the Quality Control Department conducts appropriate analysis. We also release information on the country and factory where APIs are manufactured to provide healthcare professionals with peace of mind. In addition, we actively undertake multisourcing—that is, procuring the same API from multiple manufacturers in order to ensure stable procurement.

Production and reliability assurance

Strength 1Manufacturing know-how for high-mix, low-volume production

To produce various types of generic drugs using the same machinery, it is vital to possess know-how regarding preventing the mixing of principal ingredients.

For tablet presses that form granules into tablets, it takes almost one whole day to switch between products, and Sawai ensures safety by validating each cleaning procedure. This know-how related to validating unique generic drug production processes and managing production makes it possible to conduct high-mix, low-volume production and ensure quality.

  • Production capacity : Approx. 15.5 billion tablets Sawai Pharmaceutical Approx. 5.0 billion tablets Upsher-Smith
  • Number of products approved to manufacture : Approx. 750 Sawai Pharmaceutical Approx. 60* Upsher-Smith (* Calculated according to the counting standards of Japan)

Strength 2Stringent quality management

Quality is managed to exceed government standards through all process, from selection of API and additives to production process, and even post-sales.

We are working to further improve our uncompromising quality in order to provide generic drugs that can be used with peace of mind.

  • Number of staff in Quality Control Department 411(Sawai Pharmaceutical) 68(Upsher-Smith)

Strength 3Own production factories located throughout Japan and external partner companies

Production management and quality control are undertaken, primarily for our eight main factories in Japan. All eight factories observe GMP, and we strive to implement continual improvements by acting in concert and sharing the findings of audits.

We also conduct audits of formulation manufacturing subcontractors at least once every three years.

  • Number of internal GMP audits 153(Sawai Pharmaceutical) 62(Upsher-Smith)

Sales and marketing

Strength 1Provision of accurate information

We provide information to patients and healthcare professionals through three channels—approximately 370 medical representatives (MRs); the Medical Information Center, an inquiry desk open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and a website.

In addition to undertaking activities for providing accurate information to all healthcare professionals, MRs collect and compile information on side-effects and safety of drugs, and this work is led by the Pharmacovigilance Department. We are working to have our drugs properly used by providing that information to healthcare workplaces as feedback.

  • Number of MRs Approx. 370(Sawai Pharmaceutical) Approx. 20(Upsher-Smith)

Strength 2Extensive product lineup

The lineup of products offered by our Japanese Group companies extends to about 800 products. Our ability not only to collect and provide information on various diseases and in a wide range of fields but also to broadly meet the treatment policies and needs of healthcare professionals, which is possible because we market numerous products, is another strength of Sawai Group.

On account of our continuing training for MRs that covers various products, MRs can acquire extensive knowledge. It is precisely because of our wide lineup of products, that we can propose multiple drugs to treat the same disease and more concomitant drugs.

  • Number of products on sale Approx. 800(Sawai Pharmaceutical) Approx. 140*(Upsher-Smith) (* Calculated according to the counting standards of Japan)

Value provided

Creating a society in which everyone can receive healthcare with peace of mind

Throughout the world, including Japan, many people lack access to sufficient healthcare for financial reasons.
The Group strives to improve access to healthcare by developing and offering a stable supply of high-quality, high valued-added generic drugs.

  • Sales volume : Approx. 15.0 billion tablets Sawai Pharmaceutical
  • Share of Japan’s prescription drug market (volume) : Approx. 8.2% Sawai estimate
  • Amount of reduction in healthcare costs : Approx. ¥280.9 billion Japan business / Approx. ¥131.2 billion U.S. business

Aiming to become a general healthcare company that supports people’s health

In not only its core generic drug business but also a wide range of fields that extend from prevention to treatment,
the Sawai Group provides choices not limited to health foods and drug therapies, including digital and medical devices,
but has also entered the new drug business for rare diseases.

  • Contributing to extension of healthy life expectancy : Personal health record (PHR)management app, Used by more than 400 medical institutions

Sawai Group Holdings Integrated Report 2023

Download all pages

Download in sections

Download separate volume of Financial section

Back issues

Message from responsible officer (R&D)


Taking on the challenge of new businesses in addition to being the first to introduce generic drugs

Director, Senior Managing Executive Officer
Group Chief Research & Development Officer
Shoji Yokota, Ph.D.

To undertake product development, which has grown more difficult in recent years, we are not only increasing research efficiency through DX but are also broadly strengthening our R&D foundation, which includes actively undertaking joint research with such entities as independent research institutes and researching physiological models that do not employ animal testing.

We will take on the challenge of being the first to introduce generic drugs and launching new businesses so that no suffering patients are left behind, and this entails developing drugs for rare diseases that lack sufficient treatments and similar activities.

Message from responsible officer (IP)


Promoting robust intellectual property capabilities, including those for new business fields

Senior Executive Officer
Group Chief Intellectual Property Officer
Nobuko Sugimoto

Having handled patent cases, mainly those related to generic drugs, in the past, we will strive to strengthen our intellectual property capabilities in new fields, such as digital medical devices in the future.

Furthermore, we will work to maximize the value of intangible assets throughout the Group by strengthening measures related to training personnel who possess specialized knowledge in various fields, such as intellectual property, formulation, and property analysis; undertaking and maintaining systematic and comprehensive activities, including the formulation of an advanced intellectual property strategy; and promoting the protection and branding of intellectual property, Sawai’s original technology, centered on SAWAI HARMOTECH®.

Message from responsible officer


Embodying the Group philosophy through continuous efforts to improve quality

Senior Executive Officer
Group Chief Production Officer
Toshiya Hasuo

The Group has expanded its production capacity within Japan to 18.5 billion tablets, which includes 15.5 billion tablets for Sawai Pharmaceutical’s six factories (Kashima, Kanto, Sanda, Sanda Nishi, Kyushu, Daini Kyushu), and 3.0 billion tablets for Trust Pharmatech’s Yachi and Seima factories.

Through not only this production capacity but also continually implementing measures to increase quality, we aim to embody the Group’s philosophy of “always putting healthier lives first.”

TopicsWorking to establish a production system at Trust Pharmatech

PhotoTrust Pharmatech’s
Seima Factory 2

Founded as a new subsidiary of the Group in December 2021, Trust Pharmatech launched full production in April 2023 and is moving forward with efforts to establish a production system with an annual capacity of 2.0 billion tablets or more in 2024.

The most important efforts are thoroughly introducing and spreading the corporate philosophy of “always putting patients first” and Sawai quality just like has been done at Sawai Pharmaceutical. In order to spread the corporate philosophy to each and every employee and encourage its implementation, we systematically undertake training and group activities to raise compliance awareness. We are also rebuilding our GMP system and providing continual employee education to spread the Sawai culture regarding quality.

Furthermore, we are transferring production to factories in a planned manner. As for new products, in addition to passing on Sawai standards based on witnessed manufacturing and testing by the Research and Development Division, Sawai Pharmaceutical employees provide onsite guidance for producing and testing existing products. Even for ensuring quality, Sawai Pharmaceutical offers support on all fronts, such as holding guidance meetings and conducting audits by the responsible person in the Quality Assurance Department and Reliability Assurance Division.

Our goal is to achieve an annual production capacity of 3.0 billion tablets in the future by increasing the number of employees involved in manufacturing through 2025.