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Sudden Resignation of KRPIA’s Chairman

Posted July. 25, 2002 22:18,   


There are still rumors about the resignation of the former Minister of Health and Welfare. The rumor has it that he did so under heavy pressure from the multinational pharmacist companies. Under these circumstances, the chairman of the KRPIA, a representative body of the companies, suddenly resigned, raising numerous questions about the motives behind his resignation.

The reporters of our paper contacted sources and confirmed on 25th that the KRPIA had held a meeting of board members and appointed Mr. Peters in place of its former chairman Mr. Johnson.

Korean pharmacist companies did not rule out the possibility that Chairman Johnson resigned in order to avoid the expected congressional hearing with regard to the lobbying scandal involving the KRPIA.

One director at a Korean company indicated that the resignation has something to do with the ongoing inquiry into the lobbying scandal, saying, “In 1989, we witnessed a similar response. In 1989 when a foreign pharmacist company’s advertising ran afoul of a statute, its Korean head was recalled to the headquarters.”

In response, the KRPIA argued, “From this May on, Mr. Johnson had expressed his wish for returning back to the US headquarters. That’s why he resigned. It has nothing to do with the lobbying scandal.”

Johnson was believed by some including Congressman Kim Hong-shin of the Grand National Party to have been at the center of the lobbying scandal, but was not subpoenaed for the upcoming 26th congressional hearing.

In the meanwhile, Johnson’s company argued that it has not received any notice from the headquarters with regard to his resignation.

Vice-president Lee Ki-sup said, “Mr. Johnson came back to US on July 22nd for vacationing. He is expected to return by mid-August. Then, we will tell whether he will be reassigned to the US headquarters.”

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com