The domestic market for radiotherapy equipment, for which Korea entirely relies on import, will likely continue to grow, prompting the government to encourage their localization, a state agency said Wednesday.
“The market for radiotherapy equipment is expected to increase as the demand for radioactive treatment increases,” said Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology한국산업기술평가관리원(KEIT), in the “PD Issue Report,” a TV show. “However, Korea’s self-reliance ratio in this field remains quite low.”
Radiation treatment is to kill cancer cells by using high radiation energy and has two different types: external beam radiotherapy that passes high energy X ray, electron beam, and corpuscular radiation through patients’ skin; and brachytherapy that inserts radioisotopes into a body.
"The survival rate of cancer patients for five years has exceeded 70 percent. This means two in three patients can survive for more than five years,” KEIT said. “As the patients’ quality life has also become important together with the operation for the sake of full recovery, the inflicted will increasingly prefer the radiotherapy as a non-invasive treatment.”
According to the 2015 statistics released by Korea Institute of Radiological Medical Sciences한국원자력의학원(KIRAMS), about half of the U.S. cancer patients have undergone radiotherapy. The number of patients who receive radiotherapy has increased by 2 percent a year on average. In Korea, about 25 percent of cancer patients are receiving this treatment, recording an annual average increase of 6 percent.
However, Kora has no radiotherapy equipment manufacturers (as of Feb. 13, 2017) with all devices imported from abroad. Accordingly, the nation has to break the existing market structure, in which global corporations are monopolizing the source technology and products concerning radiotherapy devices, KEIT pointed out.
“For Korean companies to enter into radiotherapy equipment market, they need to secure technology power and price competitiveness,” the report said. “After the related research and development are over, the government needs to provide support for the manufacture of prototypes and their tests."
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