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Current Status

Korea’s pharmaceutical market is worth approximately USD 19 billion as of 2016, accounting for about 1.7% of the global pharmaceutical market worth USD 1.10 trillion. As of 2016, the number of pharmaceutical companies in Korea stands at 853. Among them, manufacturers of finished pharmaceutical products are 353 with a combined workforce of 94,929 employees. The actual output of pharmaceutical products, including finished pharmaceutical products (about USD 14 billion), amounts to roughly USD 16 billion.

(Unit: Million US dollar)
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Production 13,943 14,955 15,593 15,004 16,212
Export 2,077 2,128 2,416 2,946 3,121
Import 5,194 4,821 5,219 4,948 5,638
Trade balance -3,117 -2,693 -2,803 -2,002 -2,517
Market size 17,060 17,648 18,395 16,992 18,729
Source: Food & Drug Statistical Yearbook 2017 (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety)

As of the end of 2016, Korea has manufactured 12,921 ETC drugs (worth total USD 11.5 billion) and 5,466 OTC drugs (worth USD 2.3 billion).

Production performance of pharmaceutical products Source: 2016 Drug Production Performance Chart (KPBMA)