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South Korea’s JW Pharmaceutical acquires local drug maker

By Hung Le   September 11, 2019 | 06:06 pm PT
South Korea’s JW Pharmaceutical acquires local drug maker
Front entrance of Euvipharm's headquarters, Long An province. Photo courtesy of Euvipharm.
JW Pharmaceutical Corp (JWP) acquired 100 percent of shares in local firm Euvipharm for an undisclosed fee.

By acquiring Euvipharm last week, JWP’s strategy is to make a full-scale entry into the pharmerging market of Vietnam and other ASEAN countries with locally manufactured products, it said in a statement.

Euvipharm, founded in 2005, owns a 35,000 square meter plant with the capacity to produce 1.94 billion pharmaceutical products a year, the largest capacity in Vietnam, JWP said.

"With the acquisition of Euvipharm, now we have secured a large-scale plant with advanced technology and modernized equipment in Vietnam, an emerging manufacturing powerhouse," said JWP’s CEO Yeong-seop Shin. "Beginning with Vietnam as our outpost, we will continue to expand JW brand in the global market."

Under Vietnam's WTO commitments foreign enterprises could import but not directly distribute drugs in the country. To circumvent this, they use a Vietnamese firm to distribute their drugs in the market, ACB Securities said in a recent analysis.

Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies with over 49 percent foreign ownership are only allowed to sell drugs they produce. Thus, foreign firms will have to transfer technology to the Vietnamese companies they buy to take advantage of the lucrative market, it said.

The Vietnamese drug industry grew at 16 percent a year in 2015-18, with sales hitting $10 billion, according to global research firm Business Monitor International. The country still imports 55 percent of its drug needs, especially of patented drugs.

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