As Japan pushes for generic drugs to reach an 80% market share by volume, the aftermath of a series of manufacturing scandals is leading to shortages of the more affordable alternatives to brand-name medicines, with producers rushing to meet demand.

Generics have the exact same active ingredients as brand-named medicines and provide the same effects — the difference is that they can only be manufactured and sold by other companies after the original patent expires.

Hiroyuki Sakamaki, an expert in pharmaceutical policies and health economics at the Kanagawa University of Health Services, said it will take at least three years to resolve the current shortages.