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Pharmaceutical industry in South Korea - statistics & facts

The pharmaceutical industry in South Korea is a significant industry, worth over 24 trillion South Korean won as of 2019. Pharmaceutical spending accounted for approximately 1.6 percent of South Korea’s GDP in 2019, while spending per capita increased steadily. In addition, the exports of pharmaceutical products from South Korea increased sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 billion South Korean won in 2013 to nearly 20 million won in 2019. This growth corresponds to the increased production of both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs; the latter has consistently accounted for approximately 83 percent of the production value. The vast majority of pharmaceutical distributors are pharmacies, of which there are close to 23 thousand across the country, representing around 84 percent of all distributors.

In international trade, pharmaceutical exports exceeded five billion U.S. dollars in 2019, more than double compared to exports in 2013. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical imports have remained fairly stable, and were approaching seven billion U.S. dollars in 2019. Although the difference between exports and imports remains considerable, it has steadily decreased in recent years, and the gap is expected to narrow further.

Who are the key players in the Korean pharma industry?

Hanmi Pharmaceutical was the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in South Korea as of 2019, with a production value of over one trillion South Korean won. Chong Kun Dang and Daewoong followed with approximately 856 billion and 739 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.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 23 most important statistics relating to "Pharmaceutical industry in South Korea".


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