System and Services
in Korean Pharmaceutical
Korean government's thorough Korean medicine system
management and education system
There are 11 Traditional Korean Medicine colleges (six-year course) and one Professional
Graduate School of Korean Medicine for Korean Medicine practitioners.
School of Korean
Pre-Med: 2 years
Med School: 4 years
(Total: 6 years)
(Once in a year)
Internship 1 year
residency 3 years
(Total: 4 years)
(Once in a year)
Pursuant to Article 25 (Duration of Course) paragraph 1 of the Enforcement Decree of the Higher Education Act, when the duration of bachelor's degree course in a college of Traditional Korean Medicine is six years, the degree course shall consist of a *two-year premedical course and a **four-year basic and regular medical course.
Professional Graduate School of Korean Medicine (4 years)
[Acquisition of Masters degree]
1) Bachelors course (4-year) + 4-year Korean Medicine education
2) Bachelors course (3-year) connected with 4-year Korean Medicine education
* Pre-Med course classes: Korean Medicine related cultural subjects (Chinese language reading, Oriental Philosophy, etc.), Korean Medicine basic theory classes (Classics of Oriental Medicine, Medicinal Herbology i.e. Pharmaceutical Botany, etc.) and basic medical classes (Biochemistry, Histology, Anatomy, etc.)
** Medical course classes: Classes for clinical prior knowledge in Western medicine (Physiology, Pathology, Diagnostics, and Pharmacology) and in Korean medicine (Physiology, Pathology, Medicinal Herbology, Herbal Prescription, Diagnostics, and Meridian and Acupoints), and clinical practice classes for areas of specialisation (Internal Medicine, Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Neuropsychiatry, Otolaryngology, Sasang Constitutional Medicine(SCM), etc.)
Evaluation and Accreditation of Korean Medicine Education
Annually, 40 students graduate from three Traditional Korean Pharmacy colleges across the country,
a total of about 120 Korean Medicine pharmacists nationwide are produced.
Eligibility for the national licensing exam
* Preliminary examination system: a pre-trial examination conducted before the National Examination for those who wish to obtain a national license after graduation from a foreign health medical college (medical college, dental college, etc.)
Pursuant to Article 9 (national examinations) of the Medical Service Act, the Minister of Health and Welfare shall annually hold national examinations for oriental medical doctors.
Internal Medicine, Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Surgery, Neuropsychiatry, Otolaryngology, Medicinal Herbology, Korean Medicinal Physiology, Preventive Medicine, and Health and Medicine laws
multiple choice (five choices), 380 questions (1 point/1 question), 355 minutes (test time)
Those who have scored more than 60 percent of the total score in all subjects and 40 percent or more in each subject. (Provided, that three subject sections consisting of individual subjects are divided as following: Gynecology and Pediatrics; Surgery, Otolaryngology, and Neuropsychiatry; and Medicinal Herbology, Korean Medicinal Physiology, and Preventive Medicine.)
Granting of a Traditional Korean Medicine doctor's license
Definition of Traditional Korean Medicine pharmacist
Eligibility for national licensing exam
1. A person who has graduated from herb pharmacy in a college, and received a bachelor's degree in herbal pharmacy
2. Those who have completed more than 95 credits of herbal medicine related subjects stipulated in each of the following sections
National examinations for oriental medicine pharmacist licenses shall be administered annually by the Korea Health Personnel Licensing Examination Institute which the Minister of Health and Welfare commissioned to administer such exam.
Basic Oriental Herbal Pharmacy, the Health‧Medical laws, and Advanced Oriental Herbal Pharmacy
※ Laws on health and medicine area: Enforcement Decree and Enforcement Rules on legal act such as 「Phamaceutical Affairs Act」, 「Narcotics Control Act」, 「National Health Promotion Act」, 「Framework Act on Health and Medical Services」, and 「Health Functional Foods Act」, and Korean Pharmacopoeia
multiple choice (five choices), 250 questions (1 point/1 question), 200 minutes (test time)
Those who have score more than 60% of the total score in all subjects and 40% or more in each subject.
Operating a management system for quality assurance and distribution of Korean herbal medicines, etc.
In 2019, a total 1,307 of Korean herbal medicine items were approved/notified, accounting for 21.1%
out of the entire 6,187 drug items which is approved/notified in 2019.
* Drug products: 77.7% (4,809 items), Drug substances: 1.2% (71 items), Herbal substances: 21.1% (1,307 items)
The number of approved/notified items increased by 3.6 times in 2019 (946 items) compared to the 361 of those in 2018,
due to an increase in item notifications from newly established manufacturers
*Herbal medicinal preparations approved in 2019 were a total of 56 items. As compared with 27 items in 2015, 31 items in 2016, 44 items in 2017 and 42 items in 2018, the number was increased by 107.4%, 80.7%, 27.3% and 33.3% respectively (Refer to Page 89 of the attached file).
The manufacture, import, and sales of medical devices follow relevant management provisions in the 「Medical Device Act」.
Korean Medicine devices are exported to the global market, recording about 14.7 million USD of sales in 2018 and 3.1% of YoY increase, and acupuncture raised the highest sales in the year with a number of 8.53 million USD.
Scope of health insurance coverage over Korean Medicine treatments
(unit: n, %)
|Year||Total||Korean medicine institutions|
Annual statistics of Korean medicine institutions
The total number of medical institutions includes hospitals (general hospitals, convalescent hospital, hospitals), clinics, special hospital (tuberculosis hospital, leprosy hospital, mental health hospital), dental hospitals and dental clinics, Korean Medicine hospitals and Korean Medicine clinics, auxiliary medical institutions (i.e. an auxiliary medical institution for providing health care to employees of companies or business, according to Article 35 of the 「Medical Service Act」, quoted from 「2019 Ministry of health and welfare statistical year book」) and midwifery clinics.
The ratio that Korean Medicine institutions account for in the total medical institutions
Ministry of Health and Welfare; 「2019 Ministry of health and welfare statistical year book」