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Korean, Japanese healthcare firms reaffirm ‘joint growth’ amid trade feudPharmaceuticals, medical device makers from two countries make one voice at symposium in Seoul
  • By Jeong Sae-im
  • Published 2019.07.17 14:06
  • Updated 2019.07.17 14:43
  • comments 0

Medicine and medical equipment makers from Korea and Japan gathered to discuss their cooperative growth, holding the 4th Korea-Japan Joint Symposium on Medical Products at COEX in Seoul Tuesday.

The symposium was jointly organized by regulators of both countries -- Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Also helping to hold the event were Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association, Korea Medical Devices Industry Association, Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and Japan Federation of Medical Devices Associations.

Participants hold hands with one another during the Fourth Korea-Japan Joint Symposium on Medical Products at COEX in southern Seoul on Tuesday. (Credit: Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers)

Business officials, academics and institutions related to the healthcare sector exchanged information on industry trends in the two countries. Concerns arose over the recent trade dispute between the two nations, but the symposium was held in an amicable atmosphere.

Kenichi Matsumoto, president of Japan Federation of Medical Devices Associations, put on a pair of lightening glasses during his opening speech. “These glasses make me feel like I will succeed. I hope that this symposium also turns out to be a success,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

Seo Kyung-won, head of the Drug Evaluation Department at the National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, said that one thing is for sure regardless of how things are going around. “The Korean government, the Japanese government, and the industries in both countries all wish for the health of Korean and Japanese people. To this end, we will cooperate and harmonize internationally so that the drugs and medical devices handled by the two nations are managed safely,” Seo said.

He went on to say, “The Korean government is encouraging the development of treatments for dementia as well as rare and incurable diseases. We will introduce our revised policies which enable such medicines to enter the market quickly and safely.”

The two countries particularly emphasized the need to cooperate for the development of the healthcare industry in this era of population aging.

Takao Yamori, executive director at Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency, said that the two countries have been focusing on increasing efficiency of the methods, through which high-tech medical products can be provided to patients, amid the rapid population aging and the increase of lifestyle-related illnesses.

“To solve these problems, it is important that the industry, academia, and government agencies unite to evaluate and regulate innovative technologies timely and appropriately,” he said.

He went on to say, “Most of the problems we face are difficulties with which Korea and Japan need to cope jointly. Being important partners to each other, it is crucial for the two countries to develop cooperative ties in multilateral international conferences.”

Gal Won-il, the vice-chairperson of the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers, said that both Korean and Japanese pharmaceutical industries are actively responding to changes in the global environment, despite the negative factors surfacing from domestic and international situations as well as the continuously changing environmental situations.

“We expect to see more cases of meaningful cooperation based on the close relationship between the two countries,” he said.

The symposium will explore the latest trends in drug regulation in both countries, improvements in clinical trial systems, development trends in the regenerative medicine field, and the current status of the drug price system.

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