South Korea and Taiwan have the most advanced healthcare systems among Asian countries, and both operate a universal health insurance program that covers inpatient and outpatient services as well as pharmaceuticals. Both countries have a high level of pharmaceutical expenditure and an increasing awareness of the financial burden associated to type 2 diabetes which presents a significant opportunity for multinational pharmaceutical companies as the demand for novel antidiabetic drugs continues to grow. In this report, we explore the current market access environment for type 2 diabetes in both countries, and physician and payer attitudes and behaviors concerning currently marketed antidiabetic therapies, and their expectations for emerging therapies.

Questions Answered in This Report:

  • Explore Current and Evolving Prescribing Trends: What are the choices of antidiabetic drugs across different lines of therapies? How do these differ between South Korea and Taiwan? Do the safety concerns about rosiglitazone and pioglitazone affect the prescribing pattern of PPAR-gamma agonists? What are the replacements for PPAR-gamma agonists among physicians who stop prescribing them? What are the typical prescribing patterns of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV inhibitors), glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 analogues, and insulins in the current treatment algorithms? What is the current brand share within each drug class? How will these change by 2017 after entry of new therapies? What percentages of patients discontinue treatment with DPP-IV inhibitors and GLP-1 analogues, and what are the main reasons behind discontinuation? What clinical and reimbursement barriers do physicians face in prescribing DPP-IV inhibitors, GLP-1 analogues, and insulin analogues? Is the concurrent use of GLP-1 analogues and insulin common in South Korea and Taiwan?

  • Assess Payer Attitudes on the Current Antidiabetic Market in South Korea and Taiwan: What are the main criteria for a diabetic treatment to be reimbursed under the National Health Insurance (NHI)? What are payers’ views on the pricing and reimbursement landscape for current and emerging antidiabetic therapies? What challenges will manufacturers be facing in the domestic market? Does the Second Generation Healthcare Reform in Taiwan affect the market access of novel antidiabetic therapies?

  • Explore the Outlook for Emerging Agents: How will market access barriers evolve, and what challenges are companies likely to face in the future in South Korea and Taiwan? Will physicians consider prescribing emerging insulin analogues when they become available? How do payers and prescribers perceive emerging DPP-IV inhibitors and GLP-1 analogues? How will market access barriers evolve, and what challenges are companies likely to face in the future in South Korea and Taiwan?


This Emerging Markets Physician & Payer Forum report explores the market access opportunities and obstacles that will impact the treatment of type 2 diabetes in South Korea and Taiwan in the next two to three years. This report draws on insights from surveyed 51 physicians (30 endocrinologists/ diabetologists and 21 primary care physicians) in South Korea and another 51 in Taiwan, as well as interviews with payers who influence pricing and reimbursement decisions. Payers come from the following backgrounds:

- System Developer, National Institute of Health Technology Assessment (NIHTA), Taipei, Taiwan.

- Health Advisor to the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA), NIHTA, Taipei, Taiwan.

- Hospital Formulary Decision Maker, Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE), Taipei, Taiwan.

- Administrator, Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), Seoul, South Korea.

- Head of Department, Korea Diabetes Association, Seoul, South Korea.

- Professor, Korea Diabetes Association and Korean Endocrine Society, Seoul, South Korea.

Author(s): Michael Yeung, M.Sc.

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