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Thanks to a high level of access to healthcare insurance and reimbursement, coupled with increasing demand for healthcare services from an expanding elderly population, the South Korean pharmaceutical market is expected to climb in value from $19.3 billion in 2013 to $24.3 billion by 2020, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.9%, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.
According to the company’s latest report*, the South Korean pharmaceutical industry is also expected to be influenced by various government initiatives over the coming years, such as the Korean Small Business Innovation Research program. These projects are aimed at encouraging Research and Development activities and sustaining growth in the pharmaceutical sector.
Joshua Owide, Director of Healthcare Industry Dynamics at GlobalData, says: “In order to boost private investment, the South Korean government chose to provide 44 pharma companies with special benefits, such as tax reduction and exemption, funding for research projects, and a delay in drug price cuts.
“Additionally, since signing the Free Trade Agreement with the US in 2007, South Korea has lowered its import tariffs, enhanced its regulatory transparency, and attracted investment from multinational pharmaceutical companies.”
However, South Korea is maintaining its focus on generics as a cost-containment measure to slow the rise of its healthcare expenditure, which could hurt branded-drugs profits. In fact, the country’s generic market value has increased from $3.5 billion in 2008 to an estimated $4.9 billion in 2013, at a CAGR of 7%, according to GlobalData.
“Since many drugs are set to lose their patents within the next five years, South Korea’s generics industry is only going to expand further during the coming decade,” Owide concludes.