THE Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) said it welcomes the government’s plan to encourage “vibrant competition” in the industry, saying that such market dynamics, as well as high-volume procurement, are expected to lower drug prices.

The industry association said in a statement on Wednesday that the plan by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to increase competition in the industry will lead to more affordable medicine and boost economic activity.

“PHAP shares the goal of the government to ignite competition in the pharmaceutical industry as the primary means to lower medicine prices. The market dominance of generics by volume to date is driving medicine prices down and providing a broad price range and treatment options to government, physicians, and patients,” it said.

Mr. Marcos said during his first State of the Nation Address on July 25 that the government is in talks with drug manufacturers to lower medicine prices, adding that he has instructed the Philippine Competition Commission to ensure that industry participants operate within a level playing field.  

According to the PHAP, a “vibrant biopharmaceutical industry” generates employment, investments, and revenue for the government.

“PHAP reiterates its confidence that the country could position itself as a regional and competitive hub for biopharmaceutical innovation under the current leadership,” it said.

“PHAP also welcomes the directive of President Marcos to align health protocols as well as to strengthen cooperation with the private sector to enable full capacity for businesses,” it added.   

It added that mechanisms in place under Republic Act No. 11223 or the Universal Health Care Act and Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act will encourage further competition to lower drug prices.  

“Price negotiation, pooled procurement, and private sector partnership are mechanisms that must be implemented to drive medicine prices down. Countries with low medicine prices employ a single-payer system where the government negotiates and purchases on behalf of their people,” the PHAP said.  

The association noted that the Integrated Roadmap of the Philippine Pharmaceutical Industry, drafted by the pharmaceutical industry with the Department of Trade and Industry, projects the drug market as benefiting from “vibrant and agile” pharmaceutical companies.  

The roadmap seeks to support the pharmaceutical industry en route to becoming a global player in innovation. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave