Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Philippine pharma firms see 12% growth

Abigail L. Ho
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the tough economic environment, local pharmaceutical companies expect a 12-percent growth for the year, higher than the industry’s earlier projection of 7 percent.

In a statement issued Monday, the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines said Filipino firms could take advantage of a number of expiring patents this year, as well as those that had lapsed over the past two to three years.

When patents expire, local manufacturers could start introducing generic versions of patented drugs. This would not only expand the domestic firms’ markets, but would also reduce the cost of medicine.

“Market competition is evident with the strong growth of the local pharmaceutical industry. This growth is driven by the entry of more generics due to patent expiry of several products in the last two to three years,” PHAP executive director Reiner Gloor said.

The share of local manufacturers in the drug market is also seen to rise to 38 percent and will likely continue to expand through 2010 and beyond.

PHAP said multinational drug firms were expected to grow by only 4 percent this year.

As of this month, the combined growth of local and multinational pharmaceutical firms came up to 7 percent.

In 2008, the industry grew by more than 10 percent to reach a market value of P116 billion.

In the meantime, Gloor said PHAP member-companies maintained their stance that the maximum retail price (MRP) provision of RA 9502, or the Universally Accessible Quality and Cheaper Medicines Act, should only be used as a “reserve instrument.”

“Its imposition is not necessary, given the existing market competition and wide availability of alternatives in the same therapeutic classes included in the initial MRP list,” he said.

He said there would be more generic competition in the market anyway, so there was no crucial need for MRP at this point.

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