S. Korean Drugmakers to Sell Generic Version of Pfizer's Smoking Cessation Drug | Be Korea-savvy

S. Korean Drugmakers to Sell Generic Version of Pfizer’s Smoking Cessation Drug

(image: Korea Bizwire)

(image: Korea Bizwire)

SEOUL, July 20 (Korea Bizwire)South Korean pharmaceutical companies will start selling generic versions of the smoking cessation drug Champix, following the expiration of its patent here, industry sources said Monday.

The drug by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, also referred to as varenicline tartrate, helps people to stop smoking by relieving cravings for nicotine and easing severe withdrawal symptoms.

Local companies, such as Hanmi Pharm Co. and Jeil Pharmaceutical Co., have both developed their own versions of the treatment drug, in anticipation of the patent expiration that occurred Sunday.

Hanmi already said it will officially supply its copy called Nocotin S on Monday with Jeil expected to follow suit with its own drug called Nico Chams.

Sales of Champix benefited from aggressive government efforts to get people to stop smoking in 2015, with official market data showing its domestic sales jumping tenfold to 65 billion won (US$54 million) in 2017 from just 6.3 billion won in 2014.

The numbers, however, dropped to 23.8 billion won in 2019 with the popularity of e-cigarettes in the country.

Local drugmakers said that despite the recent dip in Champix’s sales, there is still solid domestic demand for the product as people try to stop smoking for health reasons and in the face of growing societal pressure on smokers to quit.


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