South Korea

Pfizer announced that it will spend $300 million on R&D in South Korea by 2012. An initial agreement between South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare and Pfizer for the development of drugs and medical technology was signed on June 13. According to the South Korean government, this is the largest R&D investment by a foreign company. An April Business Monitor International report stated that South Korea invested $15.2 billion in pharmaceuticals in 2006; this figure should reach $21.2 billion by 2011. Asia has become both a strong market for pharmaceuticals and a location for manufacturing and R&D, but rising costs of conducting research in Japan have led to the departure of two companies from the country. In January, Pfizer announced that it would be closing its research center in Japan; one month later, Pfizer’s Japanese unit said it intends to cut up to 20% of its staff by 2009. According to a March Nikkei English News article, GlaxoSmithKline plans to shutter its Japanese drug research facility as early as this summer.


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