Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Philippine pharma industry remains bullish in ’09, raises major concerns


MANILA (PNA) - Pharmaceutical sales in the country is expected to grow by five to six percent this year from P116 billion in 2008, said the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) as the industry group hopes to remain viable with the support of the government.

PHAP, composed of more than 50 Filipino and multi-national drug manufacturers, also expressed optimism that the role of the industry in the research and development (R&D) to discover and make available innovative, safe and life-saving medicines will be further appreciated as the world and the Philippines prepare for global health threats like the Influenza A (H1N1), among many others.

“The role of research and development has become more relevant today as we brace for existing and emerging health threats in a globalized community,” said PHAP Executive Director Reiner W. Gloor.

In 2008 alone, biopharmaceutical companies have invested a record $ 65.2 billion in research and development efforts and on the average spend 15 years of R&D to obtain regulatory approval for a new drug.

“The global economic crisis, the extensive research and development process, and the expiring patents are some of the reasons we have this growth projection this year,” said Gloor.

He added that the Philippine pharmaceutical industry grew by 10.18 percent in 2008 per IMS.

PHAP, consisting of providers of most of the country’s patent medicines, was assured of the government’s support to ensure that the pharmaceutical industry in the country remains viable.

In a recent meeting with the PHAP membership, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said the government recognizes intellectual property rights as an important incentive for scientists and researchers to discover new and effective medicines.

“I would like to assure you that we religiously implement laws that uphold patent protection,” said President Arroyo.

“It (government) supports research and development which requires the protection of intellectual property rights,” said Gloor.

Gloor said industry leaders were grateful for the opportunity to dialogue with the Chief Executive on major concerns.

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