Celltrion Pharm’s Godex, a prescription treatment for liver disease, won the No. 1 position in the prescription drug market last year, and Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s Ursa topped the over-the-counter (OTC) medicine market, industry data showed. The gaps between the two top sellers and No. 2 products widened.
According to pharmaceutical market researcher IQVIA, Godex sold 30.41 billion won ($28.28 million) in 2017, up 20 percent from 25.35 billion won in the previous year.
Daewoong’s Ursa in the prescription form also grew 4.8 percent in annual sales to post 17.67 billion won in 2017 but got beaten by Celltrion Pharm’s Godex in the prescription market.
Pharma King’s sales of the prescription drug Pennel, which has suffered a sales decline since the company’s involvement in illegal rebates, fell 6.8 percent to 5.19 billion won last year. Before the authorities’ rebate investigation, Pennel used to sell more than 10 billion won a year.
Industry officials said most of Pennel buyers switched to Godex.
Celltrion Pharm attributed Godex’ solidifying the No.1 position to steady academic marketing since the 2002 market release.
“Godex has consistently announced clinical trials to prove that the drug improves liver function. The drug is also effective in diseases such as diabetes and hypertriglyceridemia. This is why we could see its good performance in the prescription market,” Celltrion Pharm said.
In the OTC liver treatment market, Daewoong dwarfed Celltrion Pharm in sales.
Daewoong’s Ursa sold 13.49 billion won last year, compared to 1.26 billion won sales of Ganegin by Celltrion Pharm. Ursa achieved a 22.9 percent revenue growth, compared to 10.98 billion won sales in 2016.
Ganegin’s sales plunged by 28.4 percent last year from 1.76 billion won revenue in the previous year.
Bukwang Pharm’s Legalon ranked second in the OTC drug market with 10.62 billion won sales. However, its 2017 revenue was down 2.1 percent, compared to that of 2016.
Even though Legalon sold more than 10 billion won, Ursa’s outperformance and Legalon’s sales decline broadened the gap between Ursa and Legalon.
Pharmaceutical sources said the liver treatment market’s dynamics would face a change as Pharma King was reportedly searching for a new sales partner for Pennel.
“Pennel used to sell more than 10 billion won a year. Even though its sales were dwindling due to the illegal rebate issue, the drug can perform well again if the sales firm gets changed,” an official at a drugmaker said.
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