By 2017, the global in vitro testing segment is expected to be worth up to $9bn. The EU takes up the largest share of this market since 2013.
Congresswoman Moon Jeong-Lim is behind the push for the country to invest in its own labs following various Korean firms expressing their reluctance to outsource testing.
Late 2015, the Assembly’s Health committee approved a bill that would partially ban the sale of cosmetics subject to new animal testing for endpoints with government recognized non-animal alternatives.
HSI concerned over 'regulatory loopholes' this time last year...
Early last year, a cosmetics Bill requiring the mandatory use of alternatives in South Korea was introduced that marked an initial milestone towards ending animal testing of cosmetics in the country.
HSI’s #BeCrueltyFree South Korea team was involved in the negotiations of the Bill but was still concerned about 'regulatory loopholes' when the announcement came.
Campaign director Claire Mansfield, who had met with Congresswoman Jeong-Lim at the time told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com that whilst the introduction of the bill was a good first step, it was important not to exaggerate its scope.
"It is not a full test ban, it is instead a mandatory alternatives bill and therefore not equivalent to the robust test bans we have in the European Union, Israel or India," she told this publication in March 2015.
Working to harmonize regulations
Mansfield's team has been working with the Congresswoman in recent years to bring South Korea's regulations in line with the precedents set by the EU, Israel and India; all of which banned animal testing regardless of the status of alternatives.
"I noted that the draft was only a mandatory alternatives bill and not a complete cosmetics animal testing ban and that additionally it contained several loopholes which would allow animal testing even where gov’t approved alternatives were available," Claire told Cosmetics Design.
The campaign director added that Moon had told the HSI team that she appreciated their suggestions and would 'see what could be done' at the time.
However, Mansfield informed this publication later down the road that the final draft had in fact been published "with additional loopholes."