South Korea Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report Q3 2014
May 1, 2014 - Business Monitor International - 132 pages
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South Korean pharmaceutical firms will see revenue growth predominantly through exports. The domestic pharmaceutical market will come under further pressure from the government, which is seeking to limit pharmaceutical spending to prevent costs from escalating. However, as the timeline for implementing these policies is currently unknown, there is some short-term stability for the pharmaceutical market.

Headline Expenditure Projections
  • Pharmaceuticals: KRW16,106.7bn (USD14.71bn) in 2013 to KRW16,558.5bn (USD14.78bn) in 2014; +2.8% in local currency terms and +0.5% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q214. Growth in US dollar terms affected by currency fluctuations.
  • Healthcare: KRW103,030.3bn (USD94.12bn) in 2013 to KRW110,790.5bn (USD98.92bn) in 2014; +7.5% in local currency terms and +5.1% in US dollar terms. Forecast broadly in line with Q214. Growth in US dollar terms affected by currency fluctuations.
Risk/Reward Rating

In Q3 2014, South Korea ranks second out of the 19 countries surveyed in the Asia Pacific region. South Korea's score for its Rewards variable is second only to Japan, indicating the country's favourable longerterm standing in terms of its pharmaceutical market development. However, we note that Risks - particularly in relation to pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement - will remain present, especially as the population ages and requires more public sector resources.

Key Trends & Developments
  • In April 2014, BioAlliance Pharma entered an exclusive supply and licence agreement for Sitavig (acyclovir Lauriad) with Daewoong Pharmaceutical for commercialisation rights in South Korea. Under this agreement, Daewoong will be in charge of registering Sitavig in South Korea, and BioAlliance is eligible to receive significant up-front and milestone payments. The agreement also includes a doubledigit royalty rate.
  • In March 2014, South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Mexican health ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the field of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics. The MoU was signed on behalf of the health ministries of the two countries by Mexico's Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) and South Korea's Ministry of Drug and Food Safety (MDFS). The MoU aims to strengthen technical cooperation between the two countries, which in turn will help patients. The health authorities also agreed to promote innovation and cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, with the aim of improving both countries' economies.
  • In February 2014, Merck and Samsung Bioepis expanded their collaboration with an agreement to develop, manufacture and commercialise MK-1293, an insulin glargine candidate for the treatment of patients with Type I and Type II diabetes. This collaboration builds on the agreement made by the two companies in February 2013 to develop and commercialise multiple biosimilar candidates. Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture between Samsung Biologics and Biogen Idec, aims to develop affordable highquality biopharmaceutical and biosimilar products.
BMI Economic View: While the prescribed targets laid out in South Korean president Park Geun-hye's economic reform plan may appear overly ambitious, the proposed drive towards deregulation and support of the services sector, if realised, will provide the Korean economy with new pillars of economic growth and set the country on a more sustainable path of economic expansion. Also, the planned pullback in the public sector's involvement in the economy will aid not just private sector growth, but will also help to improve the government's fiscal profile.

BMI Political View: South Korean president Park Geun-hye's push to increase the country's global freetrade agreement share is largely a positive for the country. An expansion in trade volumes and increased investment will provide strong support for Korean exporters, even as Seoul attempts to carve out a more consumption-driven economy. We believe that tighter economic relations between North East Asian countries would also help foster a more stable political environment.

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