UAEM Korea: First YouTube Shooting
On Saturday 14 November, Human Asia and UAEM Korea met Mr. Kang Juseong (Advisor, Kanghan Law, Former President, Health Right Network) in a studio in Sinsa to film the first video for UAEM Korea’s upcoming YouTube channel.
Mr. Kang is noted as one of the first A2M activists in South Korea following the Gleevec/Novartis case in the early 2000s. Disputes over Gleevec started with the marketing authorization of the medicine in Korea in 2001. In May 2001, Novartis asked that Gleevec’s price be set in South Korea at US$ 2,400/month, using as reference prices the wealthier A7 countries (US, UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Japan and Italy). The Korean National Health Insurance decided to set the price of Gleevec at 17,862 KRW per pill (US$ 14) or 2,143,440 KRW per month (US$ 1,680), prompting Novartis to retract plans to enter the South Korean market.
Mr. Kang had fought for democracy under South Korea’s authoritarian regime and later fell ill to leukemia. He started a fight for a more public interest-oriented medicines governance and appropriate counter-balance to the industry weight. He went on to be the founding president of the Korea Leukemia Patients group.
Thanks in large part to his leadership, civil society organizations and patients kept the pressure up and demanded in 2002 that the government issue a compulsory license (CL) for Gleevec. Back-and-forths continued between the government and Novartis, but in the spring of 2002, the Korean government gave into Novartis’ demands and approved a price of 23,045 KRW, a mere 10% discount on what had been demanded by the company. In March 2003, the Korea Industry Property office dismissed the request of CL for Gleevec. Though this battle was lost, the A2M movement in Korea was born.
UAEM Korea’s upcoming YouTube video will include Mr. Kang’s thoughts on greater access to health care for patients under Korea's health insurance, access to Gleevec for leukemia patients,and student activism on A2M. Mr. Kang was also kind enough to talk to the students about their work and A2M in Korea after the interview. We would like to thank Mr. Kang for filming the video with us and wish him good health, and ask everyone to watch the upcoming YouTube video!
* Masks were worn throughout the shooting and removed only for photographs.