What are the figures for the Korean pharma industry?
The value of pharmaceuticals produced in Korea has grown throughout recent years, rising from around 14.2 billion South Korean won in 2010 to roughly 22.5 million won in 2021. This growth corresponds to the increased production of both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs; the latter has consistently accounted for over 80 percent of the production value. The vast majority of pharmaceutical distributors are pharmacies, of which there are over 23.7 thousand across the country, representing over 83 percent of all distributors.
In international trade, pharmaceutical exports exceeded 9.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, having more than quadrupled exports compared to 2012. The Korean pharmaceutical industry has been very active in providing various medical supplies related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, such as testing kits, contributing to the significant jump in exports in 2020. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical imports experienced a large increase in 2021, jumping to over 9.8 billion U.S. dollars. While there was a considerable difference between exports and imports throughout the past decade, this gap was slowly closing as exports continuously experienced stable growth.
Who are the key players in the Korean pharma industry?
Celltrion was the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in South Korea as of 2021, with a production value of around 1.3 trillion South Korean won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical and Chong Kun Dang followed with approximately 1.1 trillion and 991.3 billion South Korean won worth of products respectively. In 2020, the ranking of pharmaceutical companies seemed to change as the pharmaceutical business environment was directly affected by, and related to, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In the first half of 2021, Yuhan Corporation recovered from an initial decline in their revenue due to the pandemic, and became the leading pharmaceutical company in South Korea.