The exports of Korean pharmaceutical products continued to expand and exceeded $300-million mark in August, government data showed Thursday.
According to the Korea Customs Service, the shipments of pharmaceutical goods under the HS Code 30 went up 12.9 percent to $311.7 million (350 billion won) in August from $276 million in July.
The monthly figure was up 47.4 percent from $211 million in the same period last year. Pharmaceutical exports between January and August have also picked up this year.
The drug shipments from January to August steadily climbed from $1.2 billion in 2015 to $1.4 billion in 2016, to $1.5 billion in 2017, and to $2.2 billion in 2018.
However, the nation’s pharmaceutical trade deficit did not fall significantly, due to increased drug imports.
The trade deficit in medical goods between January and August marked $2.1 billion this year, almost the same as the previous year's $2.13 billion.
Among pharmaceutical products, exports of items under HS Code 3002903090 presumed to be botulinum toxin were on the rise.
Exports of botulinum toxin surged to $97million between January and August this year from $16 million in 2014.
Botulinum toxin exports to China, presumed to be distributed by smugglers, spiked to $45 million in the first eight months this year, up 56.4 percent from $29 million in the same period of last year.
However, some analysts said the Chinese government’s stricter crackdown on illegally-distributed botulinum toxins might reduce the supply gradually.
“The HS Code customs data, presumed to be botulinum toxins, went down to $10 million (exported to all around the world) this year from a year earlier. Month on month, however, it went up. Worries about poor third-quarter export results continue to weigh on Medytox and Hugel,” said Ku Wan-sung, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, in a report on Tuesday.
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