I am glad to meet you all. Before COVID-19 vaccinations start next week, I wanted to visit Poonglim Pharmatech which produces low dead space syringes for administering vaccines. Also joining us today are representatives from two other LDS syringe manufacturers, Shina Corporation and Doowon Meditec. It is my great pleasure to let our people know the vital role that these syringes play in vaccinations and the excellence of Korea-made products.
While standard syringes can draw five doses from each vial of vaccine, LDS syringes can squeeze out six by minimizing the amount of residual vaccine left in syringes. These syringes’ enhanced efficiency saves as much as 20 percent of the vaccine volume, equivalent to producing 20 percent more of the vaccine in the end. Under the current situation – with COVID-19 vaccines in insufficient supply worldwide – LDS syringes are drawing international attention for making it possible to extract one more dose per vial. Global pharmaceutical companies and even medically advanced countries are in life or death struggles to secure those syringes.
Poonglim Pharmatech, Shina Corporation and Doowon Meditec – Korean SMEs – are proudly playing their roles. We will be able to once again illustrate Korea’s outstanding response to COVID-19 following our development of diagnostic kits. All three of these companies have been at the forefront of localizing the production of medical devices.
Shina Corporation is the first domestic company to develop LDS syringes and obtain FDA certification in the United States and CE marking in Europe. Poonglim Pharmatech is being recognized by international vaccine companies for its world’s best technology. Upon its syringes being certified by the FDA yesterday, their first use is expected to be administering Pfizer vaccines. Doowon Meditec is also receiving requests for large-scale supplies from Europe and Southeast Asia. All three companies will make significant contributions to overcoming COVID-19 in many countries worldwide by providing LDS syringes. You have done a great job, indeed. I hope the people will also offer our proud companies support and encouragement.
Poonglim Pharmatech’s LDS syringes are exceptional in terms of performance and safety. The company reduced the amount of residual vaccine to less than 4 microliters, much less than the 25 microliters required by global pharmaceutical businesses. As its syringes have also met strict international requirements for safety performances, orders for more than 260 million units have been placed by Pfizer and over 20 countries, including the United States and Japan. Samsung Bioepis and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety helped significantly with the FDA certification. We are joined today by Samsung Bioepis CEO Ko Han-sung. Thank you.
Poonglim Pharmatech will donate 127,000 syringes for public use. They will be used to administer the Pfizer vaccine to our people. Shina Corporation and Doowon Meditec produce syringes of equally high caliber. The 40 million syringes the Government purchased from these two companies will also be used to vaccinate the public.
Korean SMEs have had outstanding achievements, but the process involved is even more valuable. Behind Poonglim Pharmatech’s innovative accomplishment was mutually beneficial cooperation among large companies, SMEs and the Government. Samsung Bioepis was the first to predict that demand for LDS syringes would rise. In recognition of Poonglim Pharmatech’s technological prowess, Samsung Bioepis worked together in all aspects by supporting the automation of production lines and providing mold technology, thereby spearheading the mass production of excellent products.
The Government was also part of the team. Having decided to support smart factories that would benefit both SMEs and large companies, we provided funds for construction and shortened the time for product approval. Mutually beneficial cooperation between large companies and SMEs as well as government support has been the driving force behind production and export of epidemic prevention supplies such as diagnostic kits, masks and dustproof clothing. The power of mutual benefit that sprang up amid a crisis has enabled us to achieve things that no one else could match. The Government will continue to actively help Korean SMEs innovate by supporting smart factories, designating new special regulation-free zones and putting innovative procurement systems in place.
We will make sure that the vaccination which commences February 26 succeeds without any disruption. The Government has secured a sufficient amount of vaccines and syringes as part of detailed inoculation plans. Moreover, a domestically made COVID-19 treatment began to be supplied to medical institutions yesterday, and more home-grown treatments will be released soon. We will do everything possible to ensure that people feel more at ease with every aspect of COVID-19 prevention and treatment. I ask the people to not let their guard down when it comes to epidemic prevention and control efforts and to cooperate with and place hope in the COVID-19 vaccination.