Medicine Cabinet

As part of a science-driven industry, the biopharmaceutical industry is leading the way in developing treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our scientists are searching for potentially useful assets that can help with the development of new or repurposed treatments or vaccines to fight against the novel coronavirus. We are leveraging our manufacturing technologies to allow the rapid upscaling of production once a medicine or vaccine candidate is identified to meet the needs of the most affected populations. Phase 3 clinical trials are being conducted to establish safety and efficacy. We are collaborating with governments, global health and research organizations, and pharmaceutical laboratories to share knowledge, libraries, and technologies.

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) and its member companies are committed to partner with the government in ensuring that all Filipino patients have continued access to medicines, vaccines, and medical devices in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. We have stepped up our efforts to contribute in three ways.

First, we fast-tracked the development of safe and effective COVID-19 treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics. Second, we are implementing measures for an uninterrupted supply of medicines for COVID-19 and other conditions. Third, we launched a campaign to protect our health workers and generate funds for their medical needs. 

Despite the lockdowns, PHAP members continued operations to ensure unhampered and safe transport and distribution of medicines and vaccines. We ensured manufacturing capacity is at optimal levels, kept plants open to maintain a steady supply of medicines, and secured alternative sources of supplies. We managed inventories and redirected supplies to the Philippines, as well as implemented new logistical arrangements, including chartering flights.

PHAP and our corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm, the PHAPCares Foundation, launched the “We will not rest” campaign to help protect frontliners and communities impacted by COVID-19. PHAP members collectively donated P120 million to the country’s COVID-19 response, benefiting more than 1.5 million families and 155 health facilities nationwide. Beneficiaries included government and private hospitals, charitable institutions, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), among others.

Since its founding, PHAPCares has donated P1 billion in medicine and financial assistance to Filipinos disadvantaged by sickness, poverty, conflicts, and disasters. Under the leadership of its new officers and trustees, PHAPCares intends to form more partnerships to support the nation’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, and to establish pharmaceutical security resilience in preparation for future pandemics.

For this year, the PHAPCares Foundation will be led by Yee Kok Cheong (general manager, Boehringer Ingelheim Philippines), president; Lotis Ramin (country president, AstraZeneca Philippines), vice-president; and Jugo Tsumura (president and managing director, Novartis Healthcare Philippines), treasurer. Trustees include Dr. Beaver Tamesis (managing director, MSD Philippines); Jannette Jakosalem (chief executive officer, Metro Drug, Inc.), Raymund Azurin (senior vice-president, Zuellig Pharma); honorary trustee Dr. Corazon Maglaya; and myself.   

Its executive director, Dr. Rosarita Quijano-Siasoco, will oversee the implementation of programs and projects alongside Dennis Tuazon and Joy del Castillo.

Established in 2003, PHAPCares is dedicated to promoting public health and welfare in the country, particularly among underprivileged and marginalized Filipinos, as well as those impacted by natural and manmade calamities and conflicts. The Foundation has three core programs.

PHAPCares works with partners in building healthy and resilient communities in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA). Our goal is to develop these communities and provide the people with the highest possible quality healthcare in close coordination with the local government. Based on beneficiary screening and assessment protocol, the Foundation designs and implements technical assistance to aid in strengthening the healthcare system in selected communities. We provide assistance in the areas of service delivery, human resource, governance, financing, medicines, and information.

Through our emergency and disaster response operations, PHAPCares members donate essential medicines for the benefit of victims of natural calamities and for communities displaced by armed conflicts. PHAPCares also provides medicines to help avert or manage epidemics and other health-related consequences of disasters. PHAPCares in partnership with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) holds an earthquake and landslide search and rescue orientation course (ELSAROC) for schools, NGOs, private companies, and government agencies, among others. ELSAROC is a comprehensive training program, which aims to establish an effective plan for preparedness and response to mitigate the impact of a strong earthquake in Metro Manila.

PHAPCares also implements corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives with member companies and other partners. Through our CSR initiatives, we aim to make a difference in the lives of the Filipinos through various medicines access programs, humanitarian missions, and health information and education campaigns, in geographic areas affected by conflicts, health outbreaks, and calamities.

With the pandemic yet to be contained, more collaborations will be needed to respond  to COVID-19 and beyond.


Teodoro B. Padilla is the executive director of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP). PHAP and its member companies represent the research-based pharmaceutical sector in the country.