THE Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) said it is confident that the Philippines can be developed as a hub for the industry, expressing support for a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) plan to build up domestic production.

In a statement on Tuesday, the PHAP said that the Philippines can “position itself as regional hub for biopharmaceutical innovation.”

Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual has said he is pushing for more domestic manufacturing in health and life sciences, targeting biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and healthcare services.

“With a health crisis at the root of the current global economic distress, the health and life science cluster plays a strategic security role, opening income-generating opportunities in all countries, including the Philippines,” Mr. Pascual said.

According to PHAP Executive Director Teodoro B. Padilla, the group’s aim is to develop a “vibrant biopharmaceutical industry.”

“We are eager to share our expertise to accelerate the attainment of this goal for us to better prepare for and respond to current and future emergencies while at the same time sparking economic activity,” Mr. Padilla said.  

Diana M. Edralin, PHAP president, said the Philippines has much to offer in biopharmaceutical research and development, which can become a catalyst for future investment.

“The Philippines can be part of the actual research and development process… The country is currently an active participant in the conduct of clinical trials, and we are eager to partner to see more of these research and development activities in the Philippines,” Ms. Edralin said.

“When we participate in global clinical trials, we are creating early access to innovation, bringing in major investment, and building the scientific capacity… to pursue pharmaceutical research and development,” she added.

According to the PHAP, the DTI is the lead agency in the Industry Strengthening Working Group developing the integrated roadmap for the pharmaceutical industry.

“We will work with the DTI and related agencies for us to build capacity and foster an environment conducive to innovation to make available life-saving biopharmaceuticals for Filipinos and even to people in neighboring countries in the long term,” PHAP Chairman Emeritus Beaver R. Tamesis said.

“(The) PHAP is keen to continue working with the DTI to pursue pandemic recovery and foster pharmaceutical security for an uninterrupted supply of life-saving medicines, vaccines and diagnostics amidst global demand or political instability in other regions,” the group added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave