In cancer treatment it could be said that the stakes are life and death. Treatment that works is essential for patients and many rely on pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs that work. In South Korea there's been recent controversy about the largest drug maker Hanmi Pharmaceuticals. The coutry's National Assembly has accused Hanmi of covering up serious side effects to a very profitable lung cancer drug.
While the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety oversees drug development and approvals, a recent relaxing of the regulations may have lead to the drug Olita, used in the most advanced cases of lung cancer, to be approved despite serious side effects. In clinical trials for the drug every patient who used it developed a life-threatening skin condition as a result. Hamni officials state that they informed the ministry of the clinical results, but the ministry only reported that there were three such skin reactions and only one person died. In reality, 29 of the clinical study patients developed serious side effects and three people died.