Updated on 13 September 2013
Last year, South Korea was listed as eighth in the world based upon the value of their pharma transactions.
The world of pharmaceuticals is becoming more global. As the financial performance of many pharmaceutical companies continue to tighten, these companies will continue to look for new countries to ensure their clinical trials are conducted as efficiently as possible and to open up additional commercial revenue streams.
Grabbing the opportunity, the South Korean government has put in place several initiatives to encourage innovation in the healthcare industry. Combine this with a highly educated population, a western-style medical practice, a highly-wired (or wireless) communications infrastructure, and a population concentrated in a few urban areas, and South Korea starts to look like a pretty good place for clinical development activities, says an industry report by Industry Standard Research (ISR).
The Korean Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association (KPMA) represents approximately 190 research and development companies and, in recent years, its members collectively invested $2 billion to upgrade the manufacturing plants, to be in compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards. IMS forecasts a 6.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2015. With the implementation of the free trade agreement between the US and South Korea, both country's tariffs will be reduced by 95 percent within the next five years. It is estimated that South Korean-US exports will grow by 12 percent. The agreement has also strengthened intellectual property protections in Korea. The business environment in South Korea is ranked eighth in the world and sixth in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for 2011, according to the World Bank. Newly streamlined regulations and tax provisions have made Korea a more businessfriendly country.