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The rise and fall of blockbuster drugsTop 10 pharmaceutical stories in 2017 ⑤
  • By Korea Biomedical Review
  • Published 2017.12.28 09:26
  • Updated 2017.12.29 10:32
  • comments 0

The Korean pharmaceutical industry continued to grow this year, with the market size exceeding a historical 20 trillion won ($18.5 billion) landmark. Global success stories of Celltrion and Samsung Bioepis are ongoing news, and more Korean pharmaceuticals are entering the U.S. market. Kolon Life Science released the new, domestically-developed drug Invossa and other Korean pharmaceutical firms followed suit. Illegal rebates remained a current problem while patients expressed outrage against high drug prices. The government unveiled policies that slashed drug costs to regulate prices, keeping pharmaceuticals on their feet. The following are the 10 biggest pharmaceutical stories in 2017 – Ed.

Several blockbuster drugs faced backlash after problems arose with their efficacy, safety, and quality that led to the removal of indications, prohibition of sale, and market withdrawal.

Government regulators withdrew insurance coverage for Dong-A ST’s gastritis treatment, Stillen, after reports concluded the drug’s efficacy was uncertain. Although the drug maintained its indication for gastritis, its sales fell into a downward spiral as regulators pulled out coverage for the drug.

Regulators also said Ursa, Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s most well-known product, was not useful for indigestion or appetite loss. The food and drug ministry’s re-examination showed that while it acknowledged the drug’s efficacy for physical fatigue caused by liver dysfunction, it could not see the same effectiveness for indigestion or appetite loss.

Multinational pharmaceuticals were not free from quality issues of their products, either.

Regulators slapped Abbot Korea with an import suspension that lasted from Feb. 1 to March 22 after discovering a metal object in Klaricid. Health regulators also stopped the sales of Klaricid products with a different serial number.

Pfizer Korea withdrew two drugs, one for dyslipidemia and one for anxiety, from the market this year. Reports detected microorganisms in the two doses of dyslipidemia treatment Lipitor. A closer inspection also showed the main ingredient in anxiety disorder treatment Xanax, alprazolam, decreased before the expiration date.

Sanofi-Aventis Korea also withdrew two diabetes injections, Apidra and SoloSTAR (also known as Lantus), in February after post-launch monitoring found an increase in an unknown substance in the injections’ batches at its German manufacturing plant.


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