BURLINGTON, Mass., March 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources Group finds that the size of the Philippine pharmaceutical market (approximately US $3.2 billion) is expected to expand rapidly following the government's enactment of universal healthcare coverage in 2013. As access to affordable medicines improved following prior government programs like the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines act of 2008, total healthcare spending increased from Philippine Peso (PHP) 342 billion (US $8.34 billion) in 2009 to PHP 431 billion (US $10.5 billion) in 2011. The continued growth in healthcare spending and new drug benefit packages could further drive up pharmaceutical sales. The Philippine government is also looking to relieve high out-of-pocket costs by covering additional outpatient pharmaceutical expenses for chronic conditions including hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia.
Other key findings from the Philippines Market Access Tracker:
- The Philippines is the third-largest generics market in Asia after China and Indonesia, with generics holding a 56 percent share of the market. Most Filipinos favor branded generics because they cannot afford the most expensive brands and are unsure about the quality of unbranded drugs due to widespread concerns over counterfeit medicines.
- One of the distinctive features of the Philippine pharmaceutical market is the strong presence of retail pharmacies. Most patients obtain their medications at private drug outlets or Botika Ng Barangay (village pharmacy).
- A patent linkage system, in which the regulatory body automatically prevents generic entry when the patent of originator drug is still valid, does not exist in the Philippines. As a result, the originator company has to track and report any copyright infringement to the Intellectual Property Office, which is a costly and time-consuming process.
- The president of the Philippines has the authority to impose price cap/freeze on medicines based on recommendations by the Department of Health. This policy has only been employed twice since its introduction – once in August 2009 to set maximum retail price for selected drugs under five disease areas, and a more recent price freeze in November 2013 on all essential medicines to ensure sufficient supply to typhoon Haiyan victims.
Comments from Decision Resources Group Analyst Michael Yeung, M.Sc.:
- "The Philippines has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In addition, a rapidly growing population and the government's commitment to achieve universal healthcare coverage pave the way for increased pharmaceutical spending. The Philippines market presents opportunities for the pharmaceutical industry in an era where most developed markets are recording stagnant growth or are even in decline."
- "The retail pharmacy is arguably the most important stakeholder in the Philippine pharmaceutical market. Over 80 percent of drugs sold in the Philippines are via retail pharmacies. Among them, many are private, for-profit chain stores. Multinational pharmaceutical companies have to ensure good relationships with these retails outlets to ensure the maximum sales of their products."
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