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Pharma production in Philippines to hit P164 billion in 2018
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The country’s pharmaceutical industry is projected to grow by 4.5 percent annually over the next five years reaching P164 billion in 2018 from P146 billion in 2014, according to a report.

A report entitled “Partnering for Nation Building: The Contributions of the Philippine Pharmaceutical Industry to Health and Economy,” prepared by IMS Consulting for the Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), said the projected amount represents the value output or production of industry, including research based pharmaceutical companies and generic companies.

Citing various data and studies, IMS Health forecasts the pharmaceutical market to grow by 4.5% year-on-year over the next five years, reaching P164 billion by 2018. The pharmaceutical manufacturing sector (defined as pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemicals, and botanical products) ranked in the top 22 percent of the 240 sectors in the Philippines when measured by total output.

In particular, IMS Health noted that based on a 2009 report by the European Medicines Agency, the Philippines is number 8 among the top 10 countries worldwide with an annual growth in clinical trials of 30.9 percent.

The report also cited the growing acceptance of generic drugs as more branded medicines become off-patent.

“While the pharmaceutical sector’s contribution to innovation is often associated with the launch of new molecules, it is also reflected in the path paved by offpatent molecules that open the market for a wide range of generics, making medicines accessible to the Filipino patients,” it added.

Between 80 percent and 90 percent of essential medicines, as defined by the World Health Organization, are already off-patent, thereby giving consumers more affordable options.

Generics account for 65 percent of the total pharmaceutical market, with an annual growth of 6 percent since 2010. Originator products account for only 35 percent of the pharmaceutical market in the Philippines.

The Philippines has a higher utilization rate of lower-cost generics than other Asia-Pacific countries with comparable GDPs. Generic medicine prescriptions by physicians has also increased by 7 percentage points since 2011 (from 66% in June 2011 to 73% in June 2014) enhancing patient access to medicines, the report said.

With the leadership of PHAP, the pharmaceutical industry provides Filipino patients with a wide range of high-quality, affordable essential medicines and vaccines to choose from, including innovative drugs, branded generics and generics.

The government’s bulk procurement of pharmaceutical products has also helped bring down prices of medicines to Filipino patients.

Research-based pharmaceutical companies in the country have introduced more than 55 vaccines that prevent unnecessary deaths among the most vulnerable children, women and the elderly.

Over the last three years, pharma firms have launched more than 76 new molecules or combinations for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes helping ease the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country.

To date, research-based pharmaceutical companies have made available to the market more than 55 vaccines against measles, pneumonia, diarrhea and rubella.

In cancer alone, the industry launched five new molecules or combination products in 2014.

In term of employment, the report said that pharmaceutical companies, distributors and retailers employ more than 60,000 Filipinos and support close to 100 other industries, including the chemical industry.

The report also cited a report by the National Tax Research Center (NTRC) which showed that as of 2012, there were close to 50,000 retail outlets and more than 6,000 drug distributors nationwide.

From 2006-2012, the NTRC reported that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected a total of P119 billion in taxes from the broader pharmaceutical industry, comprised of pharmaceutical companies, distributors and retailers. In 2012 alone, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers paid P20 billion in taxes.

For every peso that pharmaceutical manufacturers spend generates 2.5 of output in other local industries, the report noted.

“Filipinos today are living longer, healthier and more productive lives—thanks in large part to the government’s commitment to implement crucial health reforms, particularly the adoption of Universal Health Care as a flagship social agenda,” stated the report.

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