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Pharmacist dad’s dream came true by doctor son
Jee Yong Hoon(President of Daewoo Pharmaceuticals)
by Eui Kyoung Yoon (ekyeun@dreamdrug.com)
Published : Jun 6, 2012 13:16:52
 ▲ Jee Yong Hoon
Sometimes destiny pulls you regardless of your own decision. That’s the impression when DailyPharm met Jee Yong Hoon, President of Daewoo Pharmaceuticals
Jee graduated from Seoul National University College of Medicine and became a staff ophthalmologist at Samsung Seoul Hospital. Later he opened his own clinic, Miso Eye Clinic, but he had to quit his job as ophthalmologist in 2002 when his father got hospitalized and couldn’t manage his business, Daewoo Pharmaceuticals.

Jee Hyun Suk, former president of Daewoo, founded the company in Busan in 1976. He graduated from Seoul National University College of Pharmacy. Daewoo’s sales were 38.6 billion won last year.

Q: You are an ophthalmologist. How did you end up with the current position?
A: I hadn’t wondered about my job as a doctor. One day in 2002, my father had a stroke, so he couldn’t take care of his company. He was the founder who had led the company. Once he got unavailable, a lot of issues were raised. I decided to help a little bit, but finally had to quit my previous job.

Q: Do you think you are able to manage the company well?
A: It looked clueless at first. Some people asked if I liked to sell the company. My father told to choose the person who could grow the company instead of the highest price. I couldn’t find anyone I liked. I finally got into it and decided not to sell.
Q: How did you adjust your previous lifestyle thereafter?
A: I spent a half of the day at my clinic and the other half at the company. I was determined to learn more any way. I had to deal with labor unions and some influential executives. I became president in 2009 although people around me told me not to do. Suddenly I felt I might make it. I had already started. I never wanted to hear that the son ruined the company which had been well managed and cherished by his father.

Q: Does your previous career as ophthalmologist help your current business?
A: I got to want to focus on ophthalmic products. We had some, but wholesalers sold them. Since I was in charge, I have raised the company as ophthalmology specialty pharmaceutical company with better product quality and information, marketing, packaging, and line-up. Although some employees criticized my move, I was going for a global specialty company.

Q: Why ophthalmology? Because you’re an ophthalmologist?
A: A company can’t survive without specialty in the future. Eye products currently account for 20% of the total sales. We need to rack up more sales. We have a promising new drug candidate which may be superior to Lucentis to treat macular degeneration. Animal studies showed that it suppressed the formation of new blood vessels and caused few adverse reactions. We will work with Samsung Medical Center for preclinical and clinical studies.

Q: How about your research department?
A: We had almost no researchers at first. Of course, there was no research lab. Now we have our own research institute in the company. We expanded the manufacturing facility for ophthalmic products and tried to meet the requirements of EU-GMP(Good Manufacturing Practice).

Q: Pharmaceutical companies suffer from the government’s price cuts. Is Daewoo an exception?
A: No. We cut expenses and focus on new drug development. Fortunately, ophthalmic products haven’t been affected much by the price cuts. We will also diversify our products with other healthcare and skin care products in the second half of the year.

Q: What is your daily routine now?
A: My home is close to work. I drop off my kids at school and get to work at eight in the morning. I used to read all the business management books. Now I read more about relaxation and self-improvement. I try to spend more time with my kids.
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