More Filipinos buying generic drugs ± DOH

By Anna Valmero First Posted 17:19:00 09/25/2009 Filed Under: Health, Pharmaceuticals

MANILA, Philippines - Six out of 10 Filipinos are opting for generic medicines over more expensive branded counterparts paving the way for healthy competition in the local pharmaceutical industry, according to Health secretary Francisco Duque III. Duque said more Filipinos are buying generic-branded medicines that are up to 80 percent cheaper. Generic drugs are quality copies of original or ³innovator´ medicines developed by major pharmaceutical firms. In the Philippines, a company that develops a particular medicine has 20 years of exclusive rights to produce and sell that product. Once this period expires, other companies can make quality copies and sell them at a lower price, as stated under Republic Act 6675 or the Generics Act of 1998. ³This emerging generation of wise consumers is growing and has prompted a reduction in prices in medicines such as paracetamol and amoxicillin, among others,´ Duque said. As part of the Generics Awareness month celebration, DOH signed an agreement with the Cancer Warriors Foundation to invest P20 million for the purchase of generic anti-cancer medicines for children with leukemia through PITC-Pharma, which offered the drug at a price five times cheaper than innovator counterparts. Duque encouraged physicians to prescribe to patients generic drugs to remove the misconception that generics are not as effective as branded ones. Some generic drug manufacturers put brands on their products to capitalize on this ³brand mentality´ but actually, 13,500 ³Botika ng Barangay´ (translated to Village Pharmacy) outlets nationwide sell the same quality generic drugs as low as P0.50 or P1 per tablet. ³It¶s amazing that many of our countrymen do not know that what they are really using are generic drugs. For example, the generic medicine paracetamol can be bought as Biogesic, Tempra, Calpol or as generic²only the brands and price differ but they have the same quality,´ said Duque. ³If more doctors prescribe generic medicines and more people use them, these will further drive down medicine prices and make medicine more accessible especially for the poor,´ Duque added.

a ³transition period´ will require appropriate . 15. 5th floor SM Mega Mall from Friday to Saturday. 15. together with partner agencies. is hosting the first Philippine Generics Exposition in Megatrade Hall 1. 15. which reduced by 50 percent the prices of five essential medicines whose prices their manufacturers have refused to voluntarily bring down. 15. the anti-cholesterol drug atorvastatin.To recognize generic medicine companies and their products. The order was signed by Arroyo on July 27 but was released only yesterday. Arroyo signs order for 5 cheaper drugs . the antibiotic/antibacterial drug azithromycin and the anti-neoplastics/anti-cancer drugs cytarabine and doxorubicin. These are the anti-hypertensive drug amlodipine. It said the list of the medicines included MDRP and their corresponding prices will be reviewed by the Department of Health (DOH) three to six months after the effectivity of the order or ³as often as necessary´ by the Secretary of Health. Pharmaceuticals y REPRINT THIS ARTICLE ADVERTISEMENT MANILA²Good news for consumers. President Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order 821. From now until Aug.´ said the order. Cebu Daily NewsFirst Posted 10:36:00 07/29/2009Filed Under: Laws. The EO listed the maximum drug retail price (MDRP) for these five medicines. ³The reduction of the prices of these drugs and medicines shall commence on Aug. Prices of five essential medicines will be slashed by half starting Aug. 2009 and shall be fully implemented by Sept. DoH. 2009. Medicines.

the order and price ceiling will be strictly enforced ³regardless of extent of existing inventory and compliance with packaging and labeling requirements´. Price differentials shall be shouldered by the manufacturer/trader or importer of the drug. those medicines that do not have healthy competition from viable generic counterparts. Drug companies also offered to voluntarily reduce the prices of 22 other medicines that were not included in the list recommended for price ceiling. the President ordered. pharmaceutical companies bowed to government pressure to reduce by 50 percent the prices of 16 other essential medicines which the DOH has also found to be excessive. and those medicines that account for the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the country. The MDRP shall be imposed in all retail outlets whether public or private. amoebiasis (a leading cause of diarrhea) and cancers (such as leukemia which is the top killer pediatric cancer). These are medicines for hypertension. common bacterial infections. After Aug. to impose a price ceiling on medicines in case market competition fails to curb exorbitant drug prices. hospitals and hospital pharmacies.packaging. labeling and disposition of existing inventory. upon the recommendation of the DOH. But the drug companies refused to give in to the DOH's appeal for a 50-percent price cut on the other five medicines in the DOH's list. those medicines where the innovator product is the most expensive yet most prescribed or bought in the market. Republic Act 9502 or the so-called cheaper medicines law which was signed in June last year allows the President. . including drugstores. The EO said the DOH and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) included in the MDRP list those medicines that are sold at much higher prices here compared to their international prices. Last week. diabetes. 15.

health maintenance organizations. Dr.´ ³With the signing of the EO. infrastructure building and training of healthcare providers in the rural provinces. The new prices will also serve as the ceiling for the procurement of such drugs by all government hospitals and government agencies including the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.. said it will abide by the EO but warned of ³long-term negative consequences.´ PHAP said in a statement. composed of drug companies. including adequate healthcare financing through PhilHealth. PHAP members will abide by the law and the guidelines set out in the EO. If price adjustments do not result in market expansion. The new prices shall also serve as the ceiling for reimbursement by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. However PHAP regrets that price control for certain (drug) molecules has been imposed since it believes that the same result could be achieved through free market competition. The group insisted that the MDRP ³is not the best approach since even at drastically reduced prices.´ it said. then affected companies will have to study options to remain viable. The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP).´ it warned. said the EO reflects ³initial efforts to bring down the prices of . Robert So. Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System. ³PHAP asserts that price control may deliver some short-term benefits but the long-term negative consequences not only on the pharmaceutical industry but in other industries must be considered. program manager of the DOH's National Drug Policy. convenience stores and supermarkets.´ ³PHAP proposes that a longer term solution be implemented that considers healthcare reform. most of these medicines will remain inaccessible to the poor who live on an income of less than P100 a day.

We'll only use it as a last resort. We should get a rebate from drug companies on medicines that have long been delivered and paid for. according to the president of the Cebu Pharmacist Association. He said the new government policy to lower prices of essential medicines would benefit consumers . Anti-hypertension drugs. Uy said they could not give specific figures with Aug. ³If the pharmaceutical companies won't work with us and won't impose fair prices where we would not be on the losing end. Uy said they have to rely on their national organization to negotiate with the multi-national drug companies. ³We are also worried. Until an inventory is completed. However Cebu has only around 500 drugstores because some pharmacists are not operating drugstores. The Cebu Pharmacists Association has 700 members. pay for stocks upon delivery.´ he added. multi-national companies did not commit any rebate although some reportedly volunteered to do so.85. 15 still about two weeks away and medicines being sold daily.´ he said. the maximum price for the following medicines are: Amlopidine 2. We're not going to abuse our discretion.5mg tablet P9. we can always use the MDRP when needed.medicines´ under the cheaper medicines law regime. are in strong demand. Boticas. ³It is not a problem to comply as long as drugstores will not be at the losing end. he said.´said Robinson Uy.60. general manager of La Nueva Pharmacy. 5mg tablet P22. Five Essential Medicines Under the EO. one of those on the list. he said they would suffer a loss with a 50-percent discount. Since drugstores have already paid for stocks of these drugs. We are scared that the time will come that the government will force us and we will be operating at a loss. ³The MDRP is a reserve instrument. Boticas want rebate for existing stocks DRUGSTORES in Cebu are willing to comply with Executive Order 821 but they want a rebate from drug suppliers for their existing stocks. he said. especially the smaller ones. But so far. which has six outlets in Cebu City.´ he added. .

40mg film-coated tablet P50. 500 mg tablet P151.00. 50mg powder vial for injection P2265. Legislation. Doxorubicin 10mg powder vial for injection P1465.79 Amlodipine besilate 10mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 80mg tablet P91.50. Laws. Consumer Issues. 100mg/mL ampule/vial (IV/SC) 5mL or 500mg vial P900. 20mg/mL 5mL ampule/vial for injection P1980.00.00. 100mg/mL ampule/vial (IV/SC) 10mL or 1g vial P1800.13.13 Amlodipine besilate 10mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 20mg tablet P73.00 Cytarabine 100mg/mL ampul/vial (IV/SC) P240.63 Amlodipine besilate 5mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 10mg tablet P45.99 Amlodipine besilate 10mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 10mg tablet P51.00.Government.75 Amlodipine besilate 5mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 20mg tablet P66. Medicines First Posted 10:38:00 06/06/2008 Filed Under: Congress. (UPDATE 2) Arroyo signs cheaper medicines law By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez INQUIRER.74. 200mg/5mL powder for suspension (22. 80mg film-coated tablet P50.25 Amlodipine besilate 5mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 40mg tablet P84.50 Atorvastatin 10mg film-coated tablet P34. 20mg film-coated tablet P39. 500mg vial for injection P992.00. 200mg/5mL powder for suspension (15mL) P427. and 2g granules P468.50.42 Amlodipine besilate 5mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 80mg tablet P89.79 Azithromycine 250mg tablet P108.25 Amlodipine besilate 10mg+ Atorvastatin calcium 40mg tablet P91.50mL) P638. Health.10mg tablet P38.

or the "Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008." Arroyo said in a brief message after signing the new law She directed the Department of Health (DoH) to come up with the implementing rules and regulations within 120 days. Several congressmen also showed up for the ceremony. or archive the bill.STA." also seeks to help the local generics industry by amending the Intellectual Property Code and strengthening the regulatory powers of the Bureau of Food and Drugs against substandard medicine.President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed here on Friday a new law that aims to bring down the price of medicines by encouraging more competition in the local market through parallel importation of cheaper but quality drugs. for its part. Arroyo said the measure was part of government efforts to make medicines affordable to the people. the DoH is put into high gear to further accelerate efforts to expand Botika ng Barangay [Drugstore of the Villages] outlets with the goal of 15. our legislative reforms in bringing affordable medicines to the people. the cheaper medicines bill was bypassed by the 13th Congress due to lack of time and quorum. Congress finally ratified it in April this year. Republic Act 9502. Arroyo also agreed to remove a "generics only" provision that would have required physicians to only prescribe the generic names of drugs. Senator Manuel Roxas II. "With the signing of this Act. Laguna -. water down. But the measure's passage came after months of intense debates amid alleged efforts by pharmaceutical firms to delay. . In an interview after the signing. For it to get the nod of the lawmakers. Although listed as a priority measure by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC). I believe." Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a statement. the law¶s principal author.000 outlets nationwide by 2010. said the measure will remove all roadblocks towards parallel importation of medicines. The agency. especially the poor already burdened by high prices of oil. CRUZ. The other senators present at the signing were Pia Cayetano and Ramon Revilla Jr. and now with the cheaper medicines and quality bill we have completed. He also said safeguards are in place to prevent the proliferation of fake drugs. and food. "We all know about the importance of the Generics Law before but it was incomplete. electricity. especially members of the House of Representatives. said the new law would allow it to expand a program to deliver cheap medicines to the grassroots.

Senate approves cheaper medicines bill. Other salient features of the new law include: ‡ Prohibition of the grant of new patents based only on newly-discovered uses of a known drug substance. ‡ Strengthening the Bureau of Food and DrugAdministration so that it could ensure the safety of medicines. produce and register their generic versions of patented drugs. upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Health. and those on the Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF) Essential Drug List. Philippines -." to give the consumer more choices. for prevention of diseases. The senators also passed the proposed measures giving more benefits for household helpers. and ‡ Ensuring the availability of affordable medicines by requiring drug outlets to carry a variety of brands for each drug.With the new law.(UPDATE) The Senate has approved on second reading five bills including a proposed legislation to bring down the cost of medicines as it passed on third reading a measure giving additional retirement benefits to justices and judges across the country. so these can be sold right upon patent expiry ("early working principle"). 2007 MANILA. any individual or organization registered with the Bureau of Food and Drugs may import medicines and sell them cheap to the public. . These drugs include those for chronic illnesses. ‡ Giving the President the power to put price ceilings on various drugs. by allowing it to retain its revenues for upgrading of its facilities. ‡ Allowing local generics firms to test. 4 other measures By Veronica Uy Posted date: October 02. ‡ Allowing the government use of patented drugs when the public interest is at stake.´ Senate President Manuel Villar said Tuesday. including those sourced from "parallel importation. equipment and human resources. ³I acknowledge the sheer determination and commitment of my colleagues in fast-tracking the passage of these important measures to benefit our countrymen.

we are immersed foremost in the business of the people. Senator Manuel Roxas II. but at this time we have already passed five bills and we hope to increase this number. public health emergencies. and to disallow the grant of new patents on grounds of ³new use. the Anti-Cellular Phone Theft Act. and the three-year term for AFP chief of staff. Committee Report 6. and the creation of the Commission on Missing Persons. The committees also recommend strengthening the Bureau of Food and Drug to curb fake or substandard medicines by allowing the bureau to retain its operating income from fees and other charges so it could upgrade its facilities and beef up its human resources. and a bill granting good conduct time allowance to deserving prisoners. The bill also gives the President the power to impose drug price ceilings in times of calamity. Also to be filed are the committee reports on the Personal Equity Retirement Act. is unable to pass bills.´ which is practiced by drug companies to extend the term of their patents. and grant them pension and medical benefits from the Social Security System and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. ³Such accomplishments are made in the midst of a number of equally important Senate investigations on issues of national importance and parallel hearings on the budget. the Senate. normally. also recommends the creation of a Congressional Oversight Committee on Quality Affordable Medicines. said the bills¶ passage was a ³powerful message that despite the raging controversies. while various committees have submitted their reports on the Veterans bill. the Anti-Stalking bill.´ said Villar. He said the bills are expected to be approved in the Senate before it adjourns on October 12. Inquiries are ongoing in the Senate on the wiretapping controversy and the controversial $329million deal with China¶s ZTE Corp. It seeks to adopt the ³early working´ principle that allows the generics industry to start work on medicines whose patents are about to expire. On the other hand. allocating an initial P25 million to the Department of Health for the implementation of the law. the Kasambahay bill will among others. Credit Information Bureau.providing guidelines in the presentation of suspects in press conferences. the amendment to the Child Pornography Law. principal sponsor of the cheaper medicines bill. Villar said the farmers¶ bill or the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund extension and the Entrepreneurs Act have also been sponsored. illegal price manipulation. submitted by the Senate committees on trade and commerce and health and demography. and other instances of unreasonable drug price hikes. give household helpers 15 days of vacation leave every year.´ said Villa .´ The Quality Affordable Medicines Act of 2007 seeks to allow the parallel importation of more affordable medicines. during the First Regular Session. ³As I have said.

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