[Ip-health] Korea Biomedical Review: Trade deal with US makes it hard for Seoul to support local drug-makers

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sat Feb 2 11:41:52 PST 2019


Trade deal with US makes it hard for Seoul to support local drug-makers’

By Kwak Sung-sun
Published 2019.01.23 15:31
Updated 2019.01.23 15:31

Health and Welfare Minister Park Neung-hoo said he felt frustrated about
not being able to support innovative local pharmaceutical firms because it
would touch the thorny issue of the Free Trade Agreement between Korea and
the U.S.


The top healthcare policymaker also promised to report the issue of
multinational firms’ abuse of exclusive sales rights of original drugs to
the World Health Organization. To do so, Seoul will have a separate session
to raise the issue at the upcoming WHO meeting in May, he said.

“Since I became the minister, there have been several problems that failed
to make any progress. One of them is multinational pharmaceutical firms’
abuse of monopoly. However, there are limitations to address the issue by
ourselves,” Park said. “It’s not possible to deny their exclusive drugs,
but we have to think how much we have to recognize them and how to respond.”

Park went on to say that if dealing with it in a session is not enough,
Korea will have to seek solidarity with other countries.

“I will try to discuss response measures at a government level. I’m
gathering several countries to support us. Japan was indifferent at first
but is showing interest now,” he said.

Park added that he would let the WHO members know multinational
drug-makers’ abuse of monopoly and raise the need for a joint response. “I
hope that there will be some progress in the May meeting,” he added.

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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