The pharmaceutical industry is paying attention to why Dong-A Pharmaceutical obtained approvals for 11 generic drugs last year, although it became an over-the-counter (OTC) subsidiary in the 2013 split-off for a holding company.
The company got approval to sell Twolion, a generic copy of antihistamine Tarion (ingredient: bepotastine) in July.
Tarion is mainly a selling drug that is prescribed about 20 billion won ($18.4 million) a year. Dong-A ST has been selling the drug through a partnership with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma.
However, Mitsubishi Tanabe withdrew from the Korean market in December with the patent expiration, saying upcoming generic drugs are likely to sap the revenues of Tarion.
Regardless of the contract between Dong-A ST and Mitsubishi Tanabe, Dong-A Pharm has come to receive the regulator’s nod to sell the generic copy Twolion.
Observers said Dong-A Pharm would be able to use Dong-A ST’s sales network, while more than 70 generic drugs and incrementally modified drugs entered the market to replace Tarion.
On Monday, Dong-A Pharm also received approval for Dong-A Pharm Upa Tab. (Artemisia Herb 95 percent Ethanol Soft Ext. (20→1)), a generic drug of Stillen.
Other generics that obtained approval last year include Dong-A Pharm Clopidogrel Bisulfate Tab., Dong-A Pharm Docetaxel Anhydrous Inj., Dong-A Pharm Erythropoietin Inj., and Dong-A Pharm Entecavir Tab.
Dong-A Socio Group made a transition into a holding company in 2013 and split the firm into three units – Dong-A Socio Holdings, Dong-A ST, and Dong-A Pharmaceutical. Dong-A ST focuses on prescription drugs, while Dong-A Pharm concentrates on OTC drugs and quasi-drugs.
However, recent sales declines at Dong-A Pharm seem to have prompted the drugmaker to seek other business strategies such as entering the generics market, industry watchers said.
“The company received approvals for generic drugs to search for various opportunities. We don’t have any detailed plan for a new product launch,” a Dong-A Pharm official said.