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Seoul's antismoking policy mainly benefits multinational pharma firms
  • By So Jae-hyeon
  • Published 2018.03.15 15:47
  • Updated 2018.03.15 16:50
  • comments 0

Multinational pharmaceutical companies benefited from the Korean government’s policy to discourage smoking last year, industry data showed.

Pfizer’s Champix was No. 1 nicotine addiction treatment in the prescription drug market, and Johnson & Johnson’ Nicorette, in the over-the-counter (OTC) drug market, in 2017.

In the prescription drug market, Pfizer’s Champix beat Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s Nicopion. Champix sold 64.96 billion won ($60.9 million) in 2017, according to data from IQVIA. Compared to 2014’s 6.3 billion won sales, its revenue surged more than 10 folds in four years.

Its rival Nicopion sold only 781 million won last year.

Multinational drugmakers also dominated the OTC drug market. The OTC drugs for smoking cessation are mostly nicotine supplements. Nicorette’s sales reached 4.16 billion won last year, the largest among nicotine supplements.

Came next was Handok’s Nicostop with 2.16 billion won, followed by GSK’s Nicotin-L with 1.62 billion won, and GC Pharma’s Nico Patch with 108 million won.

As the government’s tobacco control benefits multinationals, local drugmakers raised complaints.

“Sales of nicotine addiction treatments rely on media exposure, and PR effects and people buy treatments with popular names,” an industry executive said. “Local drugmakers will have to release a second-generation drug with a change in the base or an incrementally modified drug to secure a larger market share,”

Another source also said the government’s policy benefited multinational drugmakers only.


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