South Korea's top science official announced plans to develop at least six natural medicines in the next five years in a bid to increase its presence in the market.
The country plans to develop a series of drugs derived from natural substances and which will treat diseases that are hard to treat with Western medicines, according to an announcement by Science and Technology Minister Kim Woo-Sik. Planned drugs include treatments for heart attack and stroke.
South Korea intends to sell the products to international drug companies and expects the endeavor to increase the country's global share of the natural substance market from 1 percent to more than 2 percent. Asia is by far the largest market for natural medicines.
The government plans to invest 167.7 billion won ($179.6 million) into the endeavor over the next five years and will also increase support for farms that grow plants to make natural medicines. The public and private sectors will each invest 4.45 billion won ($4.7 million) into the programs.