Local drugmakers benefited from steady sales growth of popular over-the-counter (OTC) drugs last year, data showed Monday.
According to IQVIA, a pharmaceutical market research firm, 10 OTC drugs sold more than 20 billion won ($18.7 million) each in the local market in 2017. Combined revenues of the 10 products amounted to 354.7 billion won in 2017, up 5.5 percent year-on-year from 336.2 billion won in the previous year.
The top 10 OTC drugs in sales have one thing in common; they have been popular for a long time. Dong-A Pharmaceutical’s energy drink Bacchus-D ranked No.1 in the OTC drug sales last year, selling 82.2 billion won.
The quasi-drug remained at the top, although its 2017 sales fell 3.3 percent from the 2016 sales of 85 billion won. Dong-A Pharm’s sales are likely to go up further, considering that the company sells cartinine-containing Bacchus-F and caffeine-free Bacchus-DeCafe at convenience stores.
Dong-A Pharm’s another popular cold medicine Panpyrin Q also performed well in the OTC drug market.
Last year, the sales of Panpyrin Q grew 7.3 percent to 29.5 billion won from 27.5 billion won a year earlier. If the growth trend continues, its sales are expected to reach 30 billion won this year, observers said.
Ildong Pharmaceutical’s multivitamin supplements Aronamin Gold and Aronamin C Plus are also popular, selling 61.89 billion won in total last year. The sales of Aronamin Gold surged 34.3 percent to 40.36 billion won in 2017 from a year earlier, but those of Aronamin C Plus declined 11.5 percent to 21.52 billion won.
Kwang Dong Pharmaceutical’s Woohwangchungsimwon, a rounded herb ball for the relief of extreme stress, also enjoyed 15.3 percent growth in sales. Its revenue went up to 34.5 billion won last year, compared to 29.9 billion won in the previous year.
Kwang Dong Pharm announced a plan to release Solpyo Woohwangchungsimwon, which was discontinued in Korea after Kwang Dong took over the Solpyo brand from Cho Seon Pharmaceutical & Trading in 2017.
Handok’s Ketotop, a patch for arthritis, sold 30.78 billion won last year, up 18.2 percent from 26.05 billion won a year earlier. Among the patch-type arthritis treatments, Ketotop was the only product grew in sales.
The sales of Dong Wha Pharm’s Gas Whal Myung Su-Q, a drink for indigestion, fell 4.6 percent to 28.6 billion won in 2017 from 30.02 billion won a year earlier.
Chong Kun Dang's gum disease treatment Imotun posted 25.68 billion won sales last year, up 33 percent from 19.31 billion won in the previous year.
Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s Ursa Complex, a famous capsule for liver disease, posted 20.64 billion won, growing 12.8 percent in sales in the OTC drug market.
Insadol by Dongkook Pharmaceutical and Igtan F by Myungin Pharmaceutical, which are rivals in gum treatments, showed similar sales.
Insadol’s revenue fell 17 percent to 20.59 billion won year-on-year, and that of Igatan F inched down by 2.9 percent to 20.18 billion won.
“Profits are not good in prescription drugs due to price cuts and the regulator’s push to eliminate illegal rebates,” a pharmaceutical source said. “On the other hand, old but popular OTC drugs keep growing with renewals and new packaging, without additional advertisements.”