SEOUL, June 17 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of diabetic patients in South Korea has surpassed 2.5 million, prompting the local diabetes therapeutic market to heat up, the authorities said Friday.
According to the National Health Insurance Corp., the number of South Koreans who received medical treatment for diabetes jumped to 2.52 million last year, up about 25 percent from 2010.
Medical expenses soared 33 percent to 1.8 trillion won (US$1.5 billion). It accounts for 3.2 percent of total costs covered by the national health care insurance.
With the diet habits of South Koreans becoming “westernized,” diabetes rates are growing. Other causes include overeating, drinking and stress, medical doctors say.
Pharmaceutical firms here are stepping up efforts for the development of related treatment.
Dong-A ST Co. released a new diabetic drug, Suganon, in March.
Samsung Bioepis Co. said the efficacy and safety of SB9, a biosimilar of Sanofi’s Lantus, has been confirmed in Phase 3 clinical trials.
It is waiting for approval for the sales of SB9 from the European Medicines Agency.
Bukwang Pharm Co. is researching MLR-1023MLR-1023, a new treatment candidate substance.
Medical equipment producers are also focusing on the sales of blood glucose monitoring devices.
“The self-glucose monitoring device market is expected to continue stable growth at the 5-percent level, albeit not sharp,” an industry official said.