Medicine Cabinet


The Philippines logged an average of 662 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases per day from June 20 to 26, the Department of Health said on Monday, fueling calls for renewed vigilance against the virus. This tally is 53% higher than the number of infections reported from June 13 to June 19.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the need for a strengthened healthcare system, where all health pillars from governance, human resources, financing, medicines, information, and service delivery are efficiently working to provide quality patient care in the time of need. 

With this, the PHAPCares Foundation will push sustainable healthcare initiatives in cities as well as in Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDAs). PHAPCares, the social responsibility arm of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), will focus on three key program areas: sustainable healthcare, access to medicines and emergency response, and social development. 

Under the sustainable healthcare program, the group will put in place healthcare services in communities in both urban and rural settings. The goal is to empower more communities to improve health outcomes and increase the productivity of people living there. 

Assuming the PHAPCares leadership is Lotis Ramin, who succeeds Boehringer Ingelheim general manager Yee Kok Cheong as Foundation President. 

Following the global battle against COVID-19, Ms. Ramin recognized the urgency to reinforce well-functioning and sustainable healthcare systems. Apart from the pandemic, communities are challenged by other health threats such as non-communicable and other infectious diseases. 

As part of the whole-of-society approach, the Foundation will collaborate more with the national and local governments, and with other partners to establish model cities and communities that reflect the Universal Health Care (UHC) aspiration.  

UHC in the country, as defined, is a healthcare model which provides all Filipinos access to a set of quality and cost-effective health services without causing financial hardship. It also prioritizes communities or groups that do not have access to such quality services. 

The deliberate focus on sustainable healthcare will also be spearheaded by PHAPCares officers namely Novartis Healthcare country president and managing director Jugo Tsumura (vice-president) and Abbott Philippines general manager Melissa Ellen Belvis (treasurer).  

Joining Yee Kok Cheong as trustees are Bayer Philippines managing director and country division head Angel Michael Evangelista, Zuellig Pharma Philippines market managing director Jannette Jakosalem, Takeda Healthcare country manager Loreann Villanueva, PHAPCares executive director Dr. Maria Rosarita Quijano-Siasoco, and Dr. Corazon Maglaya (honorary trustee). 

At the height of the pandemic, PHAPCares launched a campaign to strengthen the country’s healthcare system capacity, and protect healthcare workers.  

PHAP members provided personal protective equipment (PPE), test kits, ventilators, medicines, and food packs to health frontliners and communities affected by the pandemic. They also made an initial donation of P120 million, benefiting at least 155 health facilities nationwide. 

One of the ways to achieve sustainable healthcare in communities is through disaster preparedness. 

PHAPCares will continue to strengthen access to medicines and emergency response by donating medicines to communities and institutions in times of disasters.  

Under emergency response, it will again conduct training under the Earthquake, Landslide, Search and Rescue Orientation Course (ELSAROC) through a partnership with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).  

As of today, 564 individuals from 26 pharmaceutical companies, local government units, non-government organizations, and academic institutions have trained under ELSAROC. These individuals have been trained to serve as rescuers, specifically in extricating and caring for victims that may be trapped under collapsed structures. 

Established in 2003, the PHAPCares Foundation has received a number of recognitions, including a Presidential Citation for its training and employment program for community nurses. The nurses were deployed in GIDA communities, providing needed healthcare support in far-flung areas. 

The organization has donated at least P1 billion worth of medicines to communities disadvantaged by sickness, poverty, conflicts, and calamities.


Teodoro B. Padilla is the executive director of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), which represents the biopharmaceutical medicines and vaccines industry in the country. Its members are at the forefront of research and development efforts for COVID-19 and other diseases that affect Filipinos.