The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has signed an agreement with its Singaporean counterpart to collaborate on pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
The agreement, which came as part of the celebration of the special summit between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), will be a bridge for local drugmakers to enter the ASEAN pharmaceutical market, the government said.
At the Korea-Singapore summit on Saturday, the food and drug ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority for GMP cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector.
The MOU aims to improve the mutual understanding of the two countries’ GMP regulations and exchange information on inspections. In the future, they plan to conclude the GMP Mutual Recognition Agreement, which will help domestic pharmaceutical companies smoothly advance into ASEAN members, including Singapore.
Under the MOU, the two partners will change regulatory information, share knowledge and experience in pharmaceutical GMP, hold joint symposiums and workshops, exchange information on manufacturing sites and inspections, and share information of unqualified medicines and recalled products.
The ASEAN’s pharmaceutical market was estimated at $25.9 billion in 2018, according to the food and drug safety ministry. Korea is the 10th largest importer of pharmaceutical products of ASEAN countries, and it has a small market share.
However, Korea’s drug export to ASEAN grew 10.4 percent a year in the past five years on average, showing significant potential for further growth, the ministry noted.
As multinational pharmaceutical firms’ production facilities are mainly concentrated in Singapore, Korea needs to cooperate with Singapore, the leader in the pharmaceutical sector of ASEAN, it added.
“We expect that the latest MOU will help Korean drugs reach ASEAN, and help us secure foreign information about harmful medicines quickly and take a preemptive measure for safety management,” the food and drug safety ministry said. “The ministry will keep expanding cooperation with major trade partners to support Korean pharmaceutical and biotech firms’ entry into overseas markets.”
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