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Indonesia seeks Korean support for upgrading healthcare system

March 24, 2023 - 21:24 By Shim Woo-hyun
(From left) Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs Deputy Ferry Akbar Pasaribu, GC Biopharma Senior Vice President Lee Woo-jin, SK Plasma CEO Kim Seung-joo, Ngoerah General Hospital Bali President Director Wayan Sudana, Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Sun Medical Center Chairman Sun Seung-hoon and Daewoong Pharmaceutical Vice President Park Seung-soo, attend a discussion session held as part of a business forum co-hosted by Herald Corp. in Seoul, Friday. (Im Se-jun / The Korea Herald)

Indonesia’s health minister on Friday vowed to support South Korean companies for their business expansion in the burgeoning healthcare market of the Southeast Asian country at a forum held in Seoul celebrating the 50th anniversary of bilateral ties between the two countries.

“The Indonesian government is trying to improve the country’s healthcare sector, in which South Korea’s cooperation is very important,” said Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin during a business session attended by executive members of Korea’s leading pharmaceutical and bio tech companies.

According to him, Indonesia is seeking to bring major changes into its overall healthcare system to enhance medical services for its fast-growing population. Currently, the country is the world’s fourth-most populous country with over 275 million people. Its population is expected to hit 300 million by 2030, driving up demand for better healthcare services.

The minister said the country still lacks public healthcare infrastructure, leaving many of its people vulnerable to certain diseases with high mortality rates, including cancers, heart diseases, strokes and kidney diseases.

As part of efforts to improve its public healthcare system, the minister said, his country is seeking a digital transformation of medical services by digitizing and integrating patient and clinical data, stressing Korean businesses’ role in achieving its goals.

“SK Plasma hopes to contribute to Indonesia’s public health by manufacturing blood products, which the country has been 100-percent dependent on via imports,” SK Plasma CEO Kim Seung-joo said during the forum.

SK Plasma, a blood products unit of SK Discovery, recently announced it plans to build a blood products plant worth $250 million in Indonesia.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical Vice President Park Seung-soo, who also joined as a panelist, said the drug maker will continue its localization efforts to expand its presence in Indonesia, adding it was the first Korean company to set up a joint venture to produce bio products there in 2012.

The join venture, Daewoong Infion, is the company that will be responsible for distributing SK Plasma’s blood products locally under their agreement with the Indonesian government.

GC Biopharma Senior Vice President Lee Woo-jin also introduced the company’s vision for business expansion, saying it is seeking to get regulatory approval to build a plasma fractionation facility there.

Herald Corp., publisher of The Korea Herald and Herald Business, co-hosted the business forum together with the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Seoul and the Indonesia Investment Promotion Center in Seoul. Some 300 Indonesian and Korean government officials and Korean business representatives attended the event.