Send to

Korea's drug market reaches W30tr in 2022

July 30, 2023 - 15:53 By Shim Woo-hyun

The size of South Korea’s domestic drug market reached an all-time high of 29.9 trillion won ($23.4 billion) last year, up 17.6 percent on-year, according to government data, Sunday.

The drug market size is calculated by adding the value of total drug production here and the drug import value, then subtracting the drug export value.

According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the country’s drug production in 2022 grew 13.6 percent on-year to 28.9 trillion won, from 25.49 trillion won in 2021.

Drug imports last year reached around 11.4 trillion won, up 0.9 percent, while drug exports came to around 10.5 trillion won, down 8 percent, during the same period.

The Drug Ministry stressed that drug production here has been growing more rapidly as compared to other industries. The average annual growth rate of local drug production in the recent five years was around 8.2 percent, four times higher than the average rate for other industries at 2.2 percent, the ministry said.

The country’s drug production accounted for 1.4 percent of the country’s total gross domestic product and 5.2 percent of manufacturing firms’ GDP.

Increased production of biologics helped boost the country's drug production.

The country's production of biologics in 2022 increased 14.2 percent on-year to 5.4 trillion won, up from 4.7 trillion won in 2021. In the recent five years, its production of biologics has posted an AAGR of some 20 percent, the ministry added.

Exports of biologics too jumped 75.5 percent on-year to hit 3.6 trillion won, supported by increases in outbound shipments of biosimilars and COVID-19 products.

COVID-19 vaccines formed the largest market for a second straight year in 2022, but it posted the first negative annual growth in the recent five years. Last year, imports of COVID-19 vaccines decreased to 5.2 trillion won, from 7 trillion won in 2021.

Meanwhile, companies that posted over 1 trillion won of drug production last year were Moderna Korea (1.3 trillion won), Celltrion (1.2 trillion won), Hanmi Pharmaceutical (1.2 trillion won) and Chong Kun Dang (1.1 trillion won). Below them were GC Pharma (815 billion won), Daewoong Pharmaceutical (779 billion won), HK inno.N (773 billion won) and LG Chem (752 billion won).