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Multinationals led drug sales in Korea in 2017
  • By So Jae-hyeon
  • Published 2018.03.06 11:38
  • Updated 2018.03.06 11:38
  • comments 0

Multinational pharmaceutical companies led the local sales of medicine in Korea last year, too, industry data showed Tuesday.

According to data from IQVIA, a healthcare and clinical research information provider, there were only six local products in the top 30 drugs that sold the most in the domestic market in 2017.

Except for Bacchus, an energy drink categorized as “quasi-drug,” the rest 29 were prescription drugs.

Excluding Bacchus, there were only five local medicines in the top 30 drugs list. This means multinational drugmakers were leading the local prescription drug market.

Pfizer's Lipitor, an anti-cholesterol drug, topped the sales last year. Lipitor recorded 132.1 billion won ($122.8 million) in revenue last year, up 6.8 percent from the previous year's 127.3 billion won.

Lipitor, sold jointly with Jeil Pharmaceutical, enjoyed further sales growth as Pfizer expanded its sales network recently.

Gilead Sciences’ Viread, a treatment for hepatitis B, also exceeded 100 billion won mark in sales. The revenue of the product went up 10.6 percent to 129.3 billion won in 2017, compared to 116.8 billion won a year earlier.

Roche’s targeted anti-cancer therapy Avastin is also performing well. Avastin’s prescription sales amounted to 92 billion won in 2017, up 14.2 percent from 80.6 billion won in 2016. The product is drawing attention whether its revenue would reach the 100 billion won mark.

MSD’s shingles vaccine Zostavax also saw a 6.2 percent sales growth last year to post 83.6 billion won, compared to 78.7 billion won in 2016, ranking fourth. Roche’s anti-cancer medicine Herceptin, however, saw its revenue plunge to 83.6 billion won in 2017, down by 19.1 percent from the previous year’s 103.4 billion won, ranking fifth.

Dong-A Pharmaceutical’s Bacchus was the only local product to rank within the top 10 selling drugs. Bacchus was down 3.3 percent in sales to 82.2 billion won last year from 855 billion won in the previous year.

Among the top 30 selling products, Pfizer 's Champix, Daewoong Bio’s Gliatamin, and Chong Kun Dang’s Gliatilin showed remarkable sales growth.

The revenue of Champix grew by 33.2 percent to 64.97 billion won, compared to last year's 48.79 billion won.

Daewoong Bio’s Gliatamin was slightly ahead of Chong Kun Dang’s Gliatilin, with Daewoong’s drug sales soaring 32.4 percent to 45.5 billion won in 2017. Gliatilin sold 42.9 billion won last year.

However, Chong Kun Dang’s Gliatilin sales jumped 59.3 percent last year, compared to 26.9 billion won in 2016.

Other local drugmakers stayed low in sales rankings.

GC Pharm’s Human Serum Albumin ranked 22nd with its sales inching up 2 percent to 48.5 billion won.

Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s Amozartan stood at 28th with 42.4 billion won, followed by Handok’s Soliris with 41.9 billion won.

“This shows that people still prefer original drugs, although many generic drugs came out,” a pharmaceutical source said.


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