Boryung Pharma Company’s gastrointestinal agent gelfos M is one of the nation’s most successful medicinal brands.
Boryung Pharma Company’s gastrointestinal agent gelfos is one of the nation’s most successful medicinal brands. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its debut, Boryung Pharma is poised to carve out a bigger piece of the pie with a renewal tailored to meet youth's demands.
The gelfos, which chalked up 60 million won in sales in 1975 at the time of launching, has moved from strength to strength to evolve into one of the pharmaceutical company’s mainstay drugs. The gelfos has emerged as Korea’s representative export medicine, which posts 50 billion won in annual sales in the Chinese market alone. The gelfos is an over-the-counter drug and symbolizes the nation’s industrialization and economic development.
The gelfos, which has a new plastic-coating format, departing from the conventional tablet or powered-type, caused a sensation in 1975. The gastrointestinal agent, named after the combination of gel and force, is effective in easing excess acid in the stomach.
An increasing number of workers suffered from stomach ailments at the height of the nation’s industrialization in the 1970s. It was normal for people to work from early in the morning till late in the evening and drink after work, so the number of people complaining of stomach problems soared. As word spread that taking the gelfos before drinking make people less drunken and protected the stomach, the drug sold quickly. A commercial in which the hero of the TV hit investigative drama series “Investigation Chief” with the message “Caught Up” became the buzzword of the times. Boryung Pharma’s Anyang plant produced the drug around the clock, but it was still insufficient to meet soaring demand.
Gelfos, Korea’s first export medicine to China
The gelfos’s presence in the Chinese market is extraordinary. The Korean export drug has made strides since making its debut in China when Korea established diplomatic ties with China. The gelfos, which was unknown initially, earned a good reputation as Chinese began to consume a lot of protein and alcoholic beverages in the mid-2000s. The drug is surging, boasting an annual average growth rate of more than 20 percent since it posted 10 billion won in sales in 2004. Boryung Pharma’s of revenue from the gelfos in China last year is estimated at some 50 billion won.
Boryung Pharma is now considering the establishment of a plant in China. Boryung Pharma President Choi Tai-hong said, “The efficacy of the gelfos has already been proved globally, and we’ll continue to aggressively invest to strengthen its presence in China.”
In Korea, Boryung Pharma released an upgraded version, gelfos M in 2000. The renewed version is characterized with such substances as agar and phosphate ion designed to form protection layers of stomach walls. It takes the form of colloid to make it easier to consume. It took four years of R&D to come with gelfos M and another two years of clinical tests. The gelfos M is the first sole antacid agent patented in Korea. It has a market share of 58.4 percent.
So far, 1.657 billion packs of the gelfos have been sold, enough to circle the planet if they are lined up end to end.
Boryung Pharma plans to release a new version of the gelfos tailored to meet youth’s needs in the second half of the year to carve out a bigger piece of the pie.
Boryung Pharma is well known as Kanarb, the nation’s first new anti-hypertension drug produced by company.
Kanarb is considered the most successful Korean-made new drug to enter foreign markets. Boryung Pharma has so far signed licensing agreements with companies in 13 Central and Southern American countries, including Mexico and Brazil, as well as a deal in Russia, standing at a combined $114.6 million. The latest deal, with Harbin Gloria, will bring the total value of Boryung Pharma’s licensing agreements a step closer to the goal of surpassing $200 million.