Demand for S. Korean antibiotics, propofol injections grow amid COVID-19 pandemic

2020.05.19 15:07:21

Dongkook Pharmaceutical이미지 확대

Dongkook Pharmaceutical"s propofol injection. [Photo provided by Dongkook Pharmaceutical Co.]

South Korea which has become the biggest exporter of test kits on COVID-19 is being chased by multiple countries for supplement meds to treat patients infected with the fatal disease whose cure is yet to be developed.

According to multiple sources from the pharmaceutical industry on Tuesday, Dongkook Pharmaceutical Co. shipped Pofol – an intravenous anesthetic propofol injection – to the Netherlands and Luxembourg last month as emergency medical product. The drug maker plans to export Pofol to Singapore this month and to Japan in September.

Propofol, an intravenous sedative-hypnotic agent, is used to reduce pain of serious coronavirus patients with insufficient spontaneous breathing.

In Korea, Dongkook Pharmaceutical is able to produce largest volume of propofol injections.

An unnamed official from Dongkook Pharmaceutical said that the latest shipment was made after an urgent request by representatives of Luxembourg in Korea. Additional exports are currently being discussed with other countries, the official said, which is expected to significant increase exports of propofol injections this year.

Korean drug makers are also receiving increasing overseas orders of antibiotics that prevent other infections of COVID-19 patients.

Ildong Pharmaceutical이미지 확대

Ildong Pharmaceutical"s Cycin injection (ciprofloxacin) and JW Pharmaceutical"s Levofloxacin (levofloxacin). [Photo by each company]

Ildong Pharmaceutical Co. and JW Pharmaceutical Corp. has each supplied Cycin injection (ciprofloxacin) and JW Levofloxacin (levofloxacin) to Luxembourg upon urgent request for quinolone antibiotics.

Quinolone antibiotics are used to treat inspiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, kidney, skin, and ostearthrotomy infections and also to cure septicemia and peritonitis.

JW’s JW Levofloxacin is mixed with physiological saline solution, which allows direct transfusion without separate dilution process.

JW Pharmaceutical will also supply Prepenem (imipenem) injection to South Africa after winning a deal to additionally ship carbapenem-type antibiotics – double the amount of its existing export volume. Carbapenem antibiotics are used to treat serious pneumonia and abdominal infections.

In particular, JW Pharmaceuticals has developed world’s first imipenem generic and has industry competitiveness to produce antibiotics meropenem, doripenem, and ertapenem through its own raw material synthesis.

Industry experts noted that the latest exports of medical products used to help treat hospitalized patients with coronavirus have surged amid frenzied demand for Korean COVID-19 test kits.

Seegene Inc. which shipped its test kit to more than 60 countries raised 39.8 billion won ($32.5 million) in operating income in the first quarter, up 583.35 percent from a year ago. Sales jumped 197.57 percent to 81.8 billion won.

By Pulse

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