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New Market Study Published: South Korea Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report Q1 2014

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2013-12-27 07:47:51 - New Healthcare research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research

South Korea continues to invest in pharmaceutical research and development (R&D). In one of the latest developments in this area, the South Korea Health Ministry announced in July 2013 that it will spend a total of KRW10trn (US$8.9bn) on projects to develop 20 new drugs over the next five years, in partnership with private domestic drugmakers. The government will also establish a KRW500bn (US $448mn) fund to help local pharmaceutical firms expand their presence globally. Additionally, despite the downgrade in South Korea's pharmaceutical market forecast as a result of poor sales in 2012, BMI expects that drug prices will continue to stabilise over the medium term.

Headline Expenditure Projections

* Pharmaceuticals: KRW15,717bn (US$13.96bn) in 2012 to KRW16,088bn (US$13.99bn) in 2013; +2.4%

in local currency terms and +0.2% in US dollar terms. Forecasts significantly lower in relation to the previous quarter, on account of downward revision of historical figures due to price cuts.
* Healthcare: KRW95,894bn (US$85.15bn) in 2012 to KRW101,673bn (US$88.41bn) in 2013; +6.0% in local currency terms and +3.8% in US dollar terms. Forecasts somewhat lower in relation to the previous quarter, on account of downward revision of historical figures for pharmaceutical values.

Full Report Details at
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Risk/Reward Ratings: In our Q1 2014 regional ranking tool, South Korea remains placed among the top three out of the 18 countries surveyed in the Asia Pacific region. Its Rewards variable - in terms of both the Country and Industry components - is among the best in the region. The country also benefits from a largely transparent operating environment, although some issues remain regarding illegal rebates paid by pharmaceutical firms to clinicians in a bid to boost sales of their products. Additionally, we note that the climate of cost containment - required largely as the country is ageing at a relatively rapid rate - will continue to have a significant negative impact on the performance of the country's pharmaceutical market, though volume demand will mitigate this trend.

Key Trends & Developments

* In October 2013, South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety ordered a three-month suspension on sales of US drugmaker Pfizer's antibiotic Zithromax (azithromycin) in the country, following the discovery that the company had been supplying incorrect dosage information on the labels of the product sold. The ministry stated that Zithromax should be consumed after being mixed with 12ml of water, while the label erroneously instructed consumers to add 9ml of water. The incorrect information could result in an overdose of azithromycin.
* In September 2013, the South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MOFDS) announced new pricing rules. The government has decided to reduce the price of a drug via discussion with the manufacturer, if the insurance claim amount of the drug, including all the available strengths with the administration route, is increased by KRW5bn (US$4.6mn) or more and 10% or higher than the amount in the previous year. The government will also decrease the prices of the drugs by 5% or less if their insurance coverage gets expanded. The new pricing rules will, in turn, enable the government's investment on prescription drugs to be decrease by KRW29.8bn (US$27.6mn) annually and the number of the target drugs for price reduction will also drop to 44 from 85. The MOFDS will have hearings regarding its recommended modifications by November 15 and the new rules are due to be effective from December 27 2013.
* In August 2013, Ireland-based Covidien launched a US$21mn training and education centre in South Korea, including a research and development facility, named Covidien Center of Innovation Korea (CCI Korea). CCI Korea, which is Covidien's first such centre in the country, will enhance collaboration activities between research scientists, academic institutions and clinicians to create better medical technology with more successful patient outcomes.

BMI Economic View: China's endeavours to revamp its industrial structure and will be the primary driving force shaping Asia's manufacturing landscape going forward. Northeast Asian economies stand to be the most adversely affected. Nevertheless, we do not expect a complete exodus of low-cost manufacturing out of the country as businesses increasingly adopt the 'China-plus-one' strategy.

BMI Political View: Park Geun-hye has faced a challenging first six months as South Korea's president, with particular pressure coming from the infighting within the government. We highlight that constant political bickering and consequent delays to the policymaking process are starting to have a negative impact on economic momentum. A plan to bring in a multi-billion dollar investment from Japan has recently been derailed, while a much-needed overhaul of the country's tax infrastructure has been delayed, consequently extending the strain on the country's public finances.

About Business Monitor International

Business Monitor International (BMI) offers a comprehensive range of products and services designed to help senior executives, analysts and researchers assess and better manage operating risks, and exploit business opportunities, across 175 markets. BMI offers three main areas of expertise: Country Risk BMI's country risk and macroeconomic forecast portfolio includes weekly financial market reports, monthly regional Monitors, and in-depth quarterly Business Forecast Reports. Industry Analysis BMI covers a total of 17 industry verticals through a portfolio of services, including in-depth quarterly Country Forecast Reports. View more research from Business Monitor International at

About Fast Market Research

Fast Market Research is an online aggregator and distributor of market research and business information. We represent the world's top research publishers and analysts and provide quick and easy access to the best competitive intelligence available.

For more information about these or related research reports, please visit our website at or call us at 1.800.844.8156.

Bill Thompson
Phone: 18008448156

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