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Health ministry to foster healthcare as growth industry
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2017.12.20 12:45
  • Updated 2017.12.20 12:45
  • comments 0

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced Wednesday its plans to foster the healthcare business into a leading innovative growth industry.

The ministry’s plan, unveiled by Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo at the ministerial meeting on economic affairs, is composed of three categories – pharmaceutical, medical device, and cosmetics.

Regarding pharmaceuticals, the ministry laid out the “second five-year comprehensive plan to nurture and support the pharmaceutical industry.”

Unlike the first five-year comprehensive plan focused on strategies to break the industry’s structure suited mainly to meet domestic demand, the second plan focuses on strengthening small enterprises, innovating biopharmaceutical drugs and nurturing export-oriented companies.

The ministry explained the new goals result from the quantitative growth of the domestic pharmaceutical industry, including the launch of new global drugs, technological export performance and the emergence of a pharmaceutical company exceeding 1 trillion won ($923.7 million) in annual sales.

The plan consists of four primary goals -- research and development (R&D), job creation, support export efforts and institutional improvement – which are subdivided into 12 strategies and 37 tasks.

Such plans include strengthening R&D to enhance new drug development capacities related with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, upgrading support system to increase the success rate of new drug development, and promoting R&D investment in the pharmaceutical sector that relates to public interest.

The ministry also plans to nurture professional workforce and enhance support for start-ups to secure future growth for the pharmaceutical industry, strengthen export support system centered on demand, and establish a system to reflect changes in the pharmaceutical industry ecosystem.

Regarding medical devices, the ministry plans to nurture the industry into a high value-added industry centered on next-generation smart medical devices such as artificial intelligence (AI), bio and robots.

The ministry’s plans for medical devices also consist of four goals. A significant part of the plan includes launching a new fund sponsored by various ministries – the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and the Ministry of Science and ICT -- to develop new-concept medical devices through the fusion of future core technologies such as AI, nanotechnology and robot technology.

The ministry also plans to ensure global competitiveness by raising the reliability of domestic medical device companies' products, establish a system that can foster medical device industry and help their market entry, and build a medical device graduate school to promote professional workforce.

“The comprehensive plans received ideas from industry and academic experts to accurately portray the voice of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries,” Park said. “If the comprehensive plan passes, the healthcare industry will become the future industry that leads innovation growth and creates high added value.”

Park also said his ministry would go all out to help the domestic cosmetics industry one of the top three in the world.


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