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Shin Poong Pharm’s uterine myoma tablets cause ‘serious liver damage’

Esmya product packaging in Korea (Shin Poong Pharm)
Esmya product packaging in Korea (Shin Poong Pharm)
Shin Poong Pharm, the sudden and sole Korean beneficiary of the recent news of parasiticide ivermectin’s purported coronavirus-killing powers, is facing business uncertainties.

The company’s uterine myoma treatment, a tablet of 5mg ulipristal acetate traded globally as Esmya, was found to have caused “serious liver injury” in a number of patients in Europe, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Esmya’s license is suspended in Europe until the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee under European Medicines Agency gives further notice.

In regards to this latest development, a Shinpoong official said, “Esmya was prescibed to over 900,000 patients globally since the EMA approvals in 2012. There have been reports of serious liver injuries in at least five people, however, although none domestically.”

The company claimed that drug license suspension does not always lead to license revocation or product recall.

“Shinpoong is investigating if the disparity in hepatotoxicity has to do with racial difference,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Shin Poong Pharm’s stocks had skyrocketed 45 percent in three days as of Wednesday, because it was the only Korean firm with ivermectin drug. The abrupt increase in trade volume prompted the Financial Supervisory Service to shut down trading of the company’s stocks from Thursday.

After Shin Poong’s stock value soared 29.87 percent on Monday, majority stockholder Songamsa on Tuesday took out a 17 billion won loan from KB Securities for some 3 million stocks as collateral. Songamsa is the private company of late Shin Poong founder’s son Jang Won-joon.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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