The government said it would help patients get compensation for diseases caused by drugs’ side effects.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said the scope of the “Pharmaceutical Product Drug Side Effect Damage Compensation Program” will be expanded from reimbursable drugs to non-reimbursable ones.
The program provides financial compensation for a patient or family when the person affected unexpectedly suffered death, disorder, or disease after the regular use of a drug. The payment includes compensation for death, compensation for temporary disability, funeral expenses, and medical treatment expenses.
The government widened the program from compensation for death only in 2015 to compensation for disability and funeral in 2016, and medical expenses for injuries by reimbursable drugs’ side effects in 2017. This year, the scope broadened to non-reimbursable drugs. The financing for compensation will be sourced from by drug manufacturers and importers.
The Korea Institute of Drug Safety and Risk Management receives applications for compensation claims and investigates side effects.
In the past four years until 2018, claims for medical expenses (193 cases) accounted for 55 percent of all the compensation claims (350) under the government program.
The government helped drugmakers pay 200 million won ($173,000) for medical expenses, which was only 4.2 percent of the total compensation of 4.74 billion won during the cited period. As consumers can get compensation for injuries from side effects of non-reimbursable drugs, the payment for medical expenses is expected to rise gradually, ministry officials said.
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