The Ministry of Health and Welfare said Wednesday that it would delay the price reduction of Promac (ingredient: polaprezinc) for 30 days as ordered by a Seoul court on Monday.
In December, the ministry announced that it would lower the price ceiling of Promac from 216 won ($0.19) per tablet to 152 won from January 1, 2020. The move came as the first generic copy drug, Pramac of Korea Prime Pharm, became reimbursable as of Dec. 1 with the price of 129 won per tablet. Consequently, the drug regulator ordered SK Chemicals to reduce the price ceiling of Promac, the original drug, by 30 percent.
However, SK Chemical on Dec. 26 filed a suit with the Seoul Administrative Court to nullify the health and welfare ministry’s order to lower the drug price. The court accepted the request on Monday, ordering a suspension of the price cut during the administrative suit.
SK Chemicals’ move is the same as that of Novartis and BMS, which avoided slashing of prices of Certican (everolimus) and Eliquis (apixaban), respectively. Prolonging the suit until the second trial, Novartis was able to stop the price cut of Certican for nearly a year. BMS has been delaying the price cut of Eliquis for the seventh month.
According to U-BIST data, outpatient prescriptions of Eliquis recorded 43.5 billion won in 2019. BMS Korea would have saved several billions of won by delaying the price cut in the past six months, observers said.
Promac is used for treating acute exacerbation of gastric ulcer and chronic gastritis. Amid the ban of ranitidine drugs due to carcinogen risks, Promac prescriptions surpassed 10 billion won last year.
<© Korea Biomedical Review, All rights reserved.>