Dong-A ST is voluntarily giving up its membership of the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association (KPBMA), 66 years after joining the group.
The company decided so to take responsibility for receiving a sentence in an illegal rebate case, industry sources said. The drugmaker revealed its intention to leave the association at a meeting of the KPBMA’s boardroom on Tuesday.
“KPBMA has been striving to fight illegal rebates, but we questioned ourselves if it was legitimate for us to remain in the association after the wrongdoing while we had to set an example for other members,” an official at Dong-A ST said. “We decided to leave the association to take our responsibility and reflect on ourselves.”
Dong-A ST said it would seek to rejoin the club after making every effort to prevent a similar incident.
In August 2017, Busan District Prosecutors' Office prosecuted Dong-A Socio Holdings and Dong-A ST employees for embezzling company funds and providing illegal rebates for doctors. The Supreme Court confirmed a sentence and penalty for them in July.
Dong-A Pharmaceutical, the predecessor of Dong-A ST, joined KPBMA in 1953. The company was split into Dong-A ST and Dong-A Pharmaceutical later. Dong-A ST has served as a member of the association’s boardroom, playing a pivotal role in the association.
Dong-A ST is not the first company to leave the association because of illicit rebates. PharmaKing voluntarily left the association in 2016 due to 5 billion won ($4.2 million) bribery to doctors.
Industry watchers are paying attention to whether Dong-A ST’s withdrawal from KPBMA will prompt other member companies associated with rebates to follow suit.
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