Korea will strengthen cooperation with the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the pharmaceutical industry.
As part of such efforts, the government on Monday opened the “K-Pharma Academy” for a five-day run, organized by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute and co-sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
K-Pharma Academy is a training program that invites pharmaceutical regulatory officials from strategic countries to Korea to promote the superiority of the Korean pharmaceutical industry and to form an international network.
Since its inception in 2013, the event has invited 107 officers from Latin America, China and Central Asia. With the opening of the 2019 ASEAN-Korea Special Summit and the first Korea-Mekong country Summit this year, the organizers invited pharmaceutical officials from three ASEAN countries -- Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Mekong countries include Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
The pharmaceutical market in the ASEAN region is about $25.9 billion, accounting for 2.2 percent of the global market. The regional market is also growing rapidly due to high demand and economic growth. Korean pharmaceutical companies are paying attention to export products and sign technological cooperation agreements with the region.
For example, Alteogen has established a joint venture in Malaysia for developing biosimilars, and other Korean companies have also been actively expanding their business in Thailand and Singapore.
According to organizing officials, the invitational training program will consist of three important contents.
"First, we introduce the healthcare system of Korea, including health insurance, to the visiting regulatory officials," the officials said. "The program provides an opportunity to enhance the understanding of Korea's excellent medical system and high-quality Korean medicines by providing tours to major pharmaceutical firms, such as Chong Kun Dang and Dong-A ST, known for their high-tech drug production and new drug development."
Second, to resolve the difficulties of local companies obtaining regulatory approval in ASEAN countries, the program will hold a "New Southern Pharmaceutical Bio Forum" on Wednesday at Imperial Palace Seoul, the officials added.
During the forum, representatives from participating countries will discuss the current status of their licensing systems and future policy directions. The conference will also provide local companies with one-on-one consultations with participating representatives to answer questions about national policies and market conditions directly.
Third and last, the government plans to discuss ways for cooperation between Korea and the participants' countries and expand the pharmaceutical industry exchange.
"We hope this training program, prepared after the Korea-ASEAN Special Summit, will expand the exchange and cooperation in the pharmaceuticals field between Korea and ASEAN countries," said Im Eul-ki, a deputy director at the Overseas Medical Business Support Division of the health and welfare ministry.
Korean companies interested in entering the ASEAN market are advised to attend the New Southern Pharmaceutical Bio Forum to obtain the latest information and build a network, Im added.