Watchdog fines drug firms for unfair business practice

SEJONG, South Korea's antitrust regulator said Thursday it has fined three drug firms for making unfair profits by stopping supplies of a BCG vaccine meant to prevent tuberculosis.

According to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), Korea Vaccine Co. and two others are accused of halting imports of BCG vaccine for intradermal use in 2017 to boost sales of a BCG vaccine that uses percutaneous injection needle.

Their moves led to the suspension of supplies of intradermal BCG vaccine, prompting the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use expensive percutaneous BCG vaccine between 2017 and 2018 for a free immunization program.

The move also forced people who favored vaccination of intradermal BCG to use percutaneous vaccination, and caused about 14 billion won (US$11.7 million) in losses to state coffers.

The South Korean government has been providing intradermal BCG vaccines for free to babies and infants as part of its mandatory childhood immunization program.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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