Why is the Pharmaceutical Sector booming in the Philippines?

September 4, 2015
Environmental Science

Steady and high growth projections of the industry for the next years, health care expenditures increase and prescription of generic drugs are some of the key factors

As the third largest pharma market in Southeast Asia, only behind Thailand and Indonesia, the Philippines’ pharmaceutical industry alone was valued at USD 4.3 billion in 2013. Projections are setting this number to double by 2020, if the sector continues to grow almost 10% a year.

With an economy sustained by robust private consumption, the stable rise of the pharmaceutical industry in the last decade is strongly linked to the increase of health care expenditure per person – from USD 30.00 in 2003 to USD 119.00 last year.

The Philippine government has also been largely improving the extent of  health care in order to minimize the impact of medical care costs on drugs, especially in the poorest households. It follows the guidance of UN Millennium Goals, which includes universal access to reproductive health and reduction of maternal mortality ratio.

Recent data published by the World Health Organization shows that health care coverage currently extends to 82% of the approximately 100 million households and one of the main goals is to improve access of good treatment and medicines in the provinces. The Department of Health has been transferring authority to local government units for primary care provisions and management of district hospitals. In 2012, Philippines had approximately 1,800 hospitals, being 60% private owned.

Strategic spot for regional operations: Some of the largest foreign pharmaceutical firms are now looking at the Philippines as a stable and competitive country to serve Southeast Asia operations. GlaxonSmithKline (GSK) and Novartis, two of the major players, established manufacturing and clinical trial center in the Philippines, respectively, foreseeing the opportunities the country provides.

The recent consumption of generic drugs is also a key factor in the success of the pharmaceutical industry.  Since the release of the Maximum Drug Retail Price in 2008, imposing a ceiling price and a 50% price reduction on certain medicines, generic drugs have become more widely available. It has also been prescribed more often and implemented in health treatments.

If your company is looking to manufacture, import or distribute medicines, it needs to apply for different licenses to operate and register each product with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has adopted the ASEAN Common Technical Dossier (ACTD) for the Registration of Pharmaceutical Products for Human Use that uniforms documentary requirements for all ASEAN countries.

As one of the largest FDA consulting firms in the country, Triple I provides an end-to-end solution to companies looking to register its products in the Philippines.

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