Korea Plans to Expedite Drug Reimbursement

Drug reimbursement significantly lags drug approval in Korea. This has led to many innovative drugs being approved but not reimbursed for a long time. While the Korean government has made efforts to shorten the reimbursement period over the last 10 years, drug reimbursement in Korea is still far behind reimbursement in the US, Japan, and other advanced countries like Germany.  Currently, drug reimbursement in Korea takes about 4 years, while in other advanced countries, the drug reimbursement time is significantly less.

Last year the Korean government released a new pilot program called the – Approval-evaluation-negotiation linkage system geared toward reducing the reimbursement time for innovative drugs. Although the full regulation is not available yet, it appears that the Korean MOH has included two drugs in this pilot program – Italian drug company Recordati’s Qarziba and France’s Ipsen’s Bylvay.  Accordingly, via the pilot linkage program, these drug reimbursements will be done simultaneously by both the Health Insurance Review and Assessment (HIRA) and the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS). If a drug receives registration as a fast-track designation, it will be eligible for the reimbursement pilot program.

Written by: Ames Gross – President and Founder, Pacific Bridge Medical (PBM)
Mr. Gross founded PBM in 1988 and has helped hundreds of medical companies with regulatory and business development issues in Asia. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the Asian medical markets. Mr. Gross has a BA degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.