ACCORDING to the BMI Research, a Fitch Group company, there will be broad healthcare policy continuity in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, basing on his statements in line with current policy directions.
The appointment of Jean Paulyn Russel-Ubial, an experienced official from the Department of Health, as secretary will serve to further maintain the status quo of the health and wellness industry.
Meanwhile, Philippine Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) President Higinio “JP” Porte Jr. believes that the association should continue to work actively to improve the industry as a whole.
Established in September 30, 1950, PPMA was organized for the primary purpose of bringing together entities engaged in the manufacture and/or marketing of pharmaceutical products for the attainment of continually upgrading the standards of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in the country, promoting and encouraging pharmaceutical research and technology development with a view to utilizing indigenous material and cooperating with the medical and allied professions for the betterment of the healthcare delivery system in the country.
Challenges of the industry
“Even though the Philippine pharmaceutical industry has an annual turnover of P132 billion, growing between four percent and six percent year-on-year in the last 10 years, only a little more than half of products being sold in the Philippines are locally manufactured, the rest are imported from other Asian countries, mostly from India, China, Korea, Pakistan, Japan, Europe and the US,” Porte explained,
Pascual Laboratories’ Group Vice President for Product Supply added, “The volume of Philippine pharmaceutical industry is small compared with our neighboring countries in Asia. We don’t have economies of scale making the local production of these goods more costly. We don’t also manufacture our Active Pharmaceutical ingredients unlike China, India, and Japan except for some herbal raw materials.”
With the implementation of Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme, PIC/S-Good Manufacturing Practices Guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015, Porte strongly believes that “we have to upgrade our local manufacturing facilities and comply to stricter regulatory requirements and this requires additional cost, making the Cost of Good in producing our products higher.”
Porte further explains, “This limits us to win government bids for the supply of pharmaceutical products. We are also faced with the delays in the release of product registration in FDA, losing our speed-to-market opportunity for locally developed products.”
PPMA efforts to address the issues
In response to these challenges, Porte ensures that the PPMA members know about the FDA guidelines by launching a training seminar for the members covering different chapters of the guidelines and invited some of the competent members of the industry to share some of their best practices. They also collaborated with presidents of other pharmaceutical associations, for example in their effort to fight the 1000 increase in the FDA license and registration fees.
Since Porte believes that the Philippines has one of the highest growth rate both industry growth rate and overall GDP, the association hopes to actively participate in the government bids for the supply of locally produced medicine in the country.
To make all these a reality, Porte pointed out that PPMA will continue to strengthen cooperation among its members to increase competitiveness through regulatory compliance, manufacturing efficiency and supply chain capability.
PPMA also plans to increase the supply of locally produced pharmaceutical products in the country from 50-percent to 70-percent and be more active in participating in crafting the government policies and guidelines affecting the healthcare industry.
Incidentally, PPMA is holding its annual election of its new set of Board of Trustees and will hold its Christmas party today, November 25, 2016.