On Monday, the Ministry of Health and Welfare issued a press release, boasting its research and development investment has succeeded in commercializing two products and transferring 11 technology items worth 200 billion won ($176 million).
Hours later, the ministry hurriedly released a correction, acknowledging some of the figures in the original report were “different from facts.”
It attributed the wrong figures to “careless data input” made by researchers.
For instance, it corrected the tech transfer value of a lupus nephritis remedy, from 128.9 billion won to 12.89 billion won, saying a researcher at Korea Health Industry Development Institute “misplaced a decimal point” in putting the figure in the R&D portal of the institute. That was just beginning, however.
Another researcher allegedly mistook the company that developed a diabetic drug developer, forcing the ministry to change it from CoreSystem to Anterogen, while exaggerating its commercial value from 120 billion won to 90 billion won.
In contrast, some researchers played down the revenue by some 300 million won in a couple of cases. One even misstated the stages of their clinical tests.
“Put together, we are correcting the total value of tech transfer from 200 billion won to 100 billion won,” the new release said.
The ministry vowed to improve the institute’s portal site not to repeat the occurrence of similar problems, enhancing the fact-checking function across the healthcare industry.
Missing from the ministry’s statement were a formal apology and the admission of neglect on the part of bureaucrats and plans for an across-the-board inspection on the ministry officials and various government agencies under its wing, industry watchers said.
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