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Made by: Reena Blaire Gonzaga Martin Christian Ordonez Owen Nolan Nueva
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
• Over the past years, medicines become a major contribution to the improvement of health status of the patients. Medicines are currently used to treat stroke, cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, arthritis and many other diseases. Many forms of cancer that were fatal a decade ago have become curable nowadays. Moreover, other fatal diseases have become manageable for many sufferers. However, these branded medicines are not affordable and still protected with patents which will be expired in the next decade. Due to the expiration of the patent of these medicines, these can be made available again but produced in much cheaper aspect. The production of these new medicines is now called generic medicines. Indeed, these medicines will undergo serious clinical testing before it can be produced in the world market. According to the Population Commission (POPCOM), “there are 30.6 million Filipinos or 6.12 million families who are suffering from poverty and the population which is 87 million today grows 2.05 percent annually.” Moreover, most of the population is given a very low income per month. Through this, many people can not afford to buy branded medicines which are so expensive in the Philippines compared with other countries like India, Afghanistan, and Thailand. The drugs in the Philippines are so expensive because the government has never been interested in developing a truly independent and people oriented health care policy. Senator Mar Roxas saw this problem and decided to pass a Senate Bill No. 1658 which aims to provide quality and affordable drugs. In fact, this Bill has been approved last October 10, 2007 but until the present time, it is not yet implemented in the Philippines. With the condition of the Philippines’ economy, people prefer to buy cheaper medicines. Moreover, the production of generic medicines is indeed the only solution to the problem of the said country. There is really a need to conduct a study regarding this subject matter. On the other hand, this paper focuses on the differences between generic and branded medicines so through this, people will know if generic drugs are really the alternative solution for high prices of medicines in the Philippines. Also, this paper discusses if there is really a need for the production of generic medicines in the Philippines.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
• This study aims to answer the following questions:
– What are generic medicines? Are they effective? – Are the medicines in the Philippines very expensive? – Do people prefer to buy generic medicines?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
• Companies of Generic Medicines. Through knowing the country’s economy, companies will supply more generic medicines that will be consumed by people who can not afford to buy very expensive medicines. Doctors. They will be aware that most of the people in the Philippines can not afford to buy medicines so it is better if they will prescribe generic drugs. Also, they will be informed that some of generic medicines are safe and effective like branded medicines. Future Researchers. This study would be a great help for future researchers in terms of new and additional information for them. Ordinary People in the Society. They will be able to know that there is a possible alternative for very expensive branded medicines. Scientists. This research paper would be able to make scientists aware that there is a great need for newly developed generic medicines to treat certain diseases. Through this, they will give their best to find out new generic medicines for the society.
• • •
SCOPE AND DELIMINATION
• This study aims to know if there is really a need for the production of generic medicines in the Philippines. Generic medicines seem to become an alternative solution for the very expensive medicines in the Philippines. On the other hand, respondents that will be involved in this paper are students from De La Salle University and other schools like UST, UP and PNU. Indeed, alternative solution is very necessary because if there would be no more affordable medicines, death rate might increase. Moreover, the researchers believed that medicines are very important to the health status of every individual because it can cure, prevent and manage certain kind of diseases.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
• This research uses descriptive method since the researchers describe the differences between generic and branded medicines and discusses the need of generic medicines in the Philippines. Picciano (1996) states that this method is a group that includes many particular research methodologies and procedures such as observations, surveys, and self-reports. • Information was gathered from various reference materials such as journal articles from online sources and books from the library. In addition, a survey was conducted from a group of people whose age ranges from 15-35 to strengthen the finding of the study. Moreover, the lists of the prices of the medicines were gathered in Medi-Rx, a medicine company.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
• Branded medicine. A medicine that is so expensive because of the expenditures of the company which produces this kind of medicines. • Generic Medicine. A drug which is produced and distributed without patent protection. Also these are being sold in a lower cost of price compared with branded medicines. • Medicine. A drug which is responsible in the maintenance and restoration of human health. • Patent. A law which protects a product.
1.) What are generic medicines?
Are they effective?
• Generic medicines are drugs identical to branded drugs in dosage, form, safety, strength, quality, characteristics and intended use. However, there are companies which produce illegal generic drugs. The medicines are illegal because the Government’s standard was not able to achieve. Also, these medicines are typically sold in a lower cost of price compared with branded medicines. Moreover, this is the drug being produced when the patent of certain branded medicines expire. Generic drugs are also distinguished as over the counter medicines. On the other hand, there are only a few generic medicines that pass the Government’s standard. People believe that this is becoming one of the cheapest drugs available to treat diseases or sickness. There are certain reasons why branded medicines are more expensive than generic medicines. First, branded medicines are being produced by well known companies. Second, the said companies have highly cost expenditure allotted for its advertisements. Third, the medicines are being sold in monopoly basis and so without any competition, the company can sell its medicines at any price. This shows that people are forced to buy those kinds of medicines because they have no choice and there are no competing products. Lastly, the cost of medicines is being affected by taxes given by the Government in certain products. All of the products in a certain country have additional taxes to pay and this is the reason why the medicines become more expensive. There are several insights about generic medicines. In fact, some people said that the quality of generic drugs is very low compared with branded drugs since these have lower cost of price and through this price, it affects the quality of the said drugs. Others also said that it requires a lot of product to take to be able to know if it is effective. Generic medicines are hailed as heroes, especially in most depressed areas, because it also helps you in saving your money. Appropriate use of generic medicines can help to free up resources for important new advances in medicines. Generic products account for less than 5 percent of drugs and medicines sold in the country. And this state of affairs persists even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the prices of commonly used, branded medicines sold here can be as much as 10 times higher than the same medicines sold in other Asian countries and, sometimes, even higher than they are sold in industrial countries like the United States and Canada. The costs of these generic drugs are so low that many developing countries can easily afford. This was developed especially on poor countries in order for the people to afford the price of the medicines they needed.
The Philippines is, in fact, second to Japan in having the highest medicine prices in Asia. Medicines in the Philippines are indeed expensive compared with neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. As a result three out of five Filipinos get sick without being able to see a doctor at all. In 2005, Filipinos spending for medicines dropped by 2.2 percent while prices of medicines went up by 10 percent, according to the PITC. According to the Philippine International Trading Corporation, the cost of medicine in the country is higher by 40 percent to 180 percent than other Asian countries. The local price of the leading mefenamic acid product is P21.82 compared to P2.61 in India and P1.38 in Pakistan. (Mefenamic acid under the brand name Ponstan costs P20.98 here, but only P2.80 in India and P1.46 in Pakistan). A 5-mg anti-hypertensive pill costs P44.75 in the Philippines. In South Korea, the same brand costs only P22.25, while in India and Thailand, the pill costs only P5.15 and P29.85, respectively. (An anti-hypertensive pill under the brand name Norvasc costs P44.75 here, but only P6 in India). The top antiasthma drug sells for P406.75 while India and Thailand sells it for only P83.88 and P230.54, respectively. While a drug against respiratory tract infection costs P17.75 while it only costs in P.51 in India and P4.63 in Thailand. Zantac (150 mg) for hyperacidity, costs P33.02 in the Philippines and 82 centavos in India (40.3 times more expensive). Ponstan (500mg) for headache and body pain, costs P24.82 in the Philippines and P3.22 in India (9.2 times more expensive). Plendil (5 mg) for high blood, costs P21.82 in the Philippines and P2.69 in India (8.1 times more expensive). Norvasc (5 mg) for high blood, costs P39.07 in the Philippines and P5.77 in India (6.8 times more expensive). Imdur (30 mg) for chest pains, P18.20 In the Philippines and P3.72 in India (4.9 times more expensive). Ventolin (100 mcg) for asthma, costs P315 in the Philippines and P126.78 in India (2.5 times more expensive). In further research, it shows that almost 72,000 Filipinos die annually because of heart disease. They die because of lack of budget for their medicines. Pfizer sells a 10 mg. dose of Norvase for $1.50 (Pesos: 75.00) in the Philippines as against only $.18 in India. Norvase costs 700 percent more in the Philippines than elsewhere. Pfizer has not even bothered to explain the enormous price difference between what it sells in the Philippines and the very same product in other countries. It’s no wonder then that the government is eager, even desperate, to import the drug. It is more expensive because it is being imported from other countries to the Philippines. Medicines are expensive because successive governments have never been interested in developing a truly independent and people-oriented health care policy, including the development of a Filipino drug industry. Ownership and manufacture of drugs are controlled by transnational oligopolies entrenching import-dependence, “their brand” mentality and sheer commodification of a vital health and life support. Distribution is likewise cornered by a handful of Filipino businessmen. Access to medicines has always been under the mercy of market economics dominated by foreign interests, never in the interest of the Filipino.
Philippines very expensive?
2.)Are the medicines in the
Here is the price list of branded medicines being sold by the company Medi-Rx:
Through this price list, we can see how expensive the medicines in the Philippines. Compared to other country, it is fours times expensive. It is all a sample of branded medicines being sold at Medi Rx. They are more expensive compared with generic medicines. • This chart will show you the differences of the prices of the medicines in other countries and the Philippines:
30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Philippines India Pakistan South Korea Thailand Japan
We can see in the chart that Philippines is second to Japan as having expensive medicines. Many people are suffering in some kind of diseases due to lack of budget for their medicines because it was too expensive. Many people just die because of their lack of budget for expensive medicines.
3.) Do people prefer to buy generic medicines?
– In order to gain first hand data on the subject, the researchers conducted a survey with students in De La Salle University Dasmarinas and other schools such as University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines and Philippine Normal University. This was done in order to gather data about the preference of people regarding medicines. Survey sheets are written in English but the use of words is clear enough for the respondents to give accurate answers. – There are 90 respondents in the survey conducted by the researchers. As a follow-up to the result, the following graph shows how many people prefer to use generic or branded medicines:
The results show that majority of the respondents prefer to use generic medicines. There are 59 percent who prefer generic medicines and 41 percent prefer branded medicines. In fact, Celine Charveriat, head of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, says that The Philippines has taken important steps to use public health safeguards to reduce the price of medicines and respond to serious public health problems (Oxfam Press Release, 2006). From the results of the survey, it appears that generic medicines may actually be a solution to the problem of very expensive medicines which are called branded drugs. The researchers also asked the respondent why they prefer to buy generic medicines and the results of the question relating to these are found in the graph on the lower left side:
As can be seen by the graph, most people prefer to buy generic medicines because it is cheaper compared with branded medicines. There are 70 percent from 90 respondents who said that they buy generic drugs because it is cheap and affordable. Due to low income of workers, more and more people prefer to buy cheaper and affordable things to sustain living. It is clearly shown that most of the people believe that generic drugs might be the solution to the difficulties they encounter in order to budget their limited income. The graph is taken from a survey with an ordinary factory worker to show how much is allocated for basic needs to be able to continue living:
It is shown that there is a greater percentage allocated with the food which is consider as the greatest necessity in life. Meaning, without it, man can not be able to survive. Then, there is 20 percent in transportation, 16 percent in house bills (water and electricity) and 16% miscellaneous. Clothing, medicine and other things are included in miscellaneous. In this data, it shows that there is a small percentage allocated for medicine and this in turn shows that there is a great possibility that they can not afford to buy expensive medicine. Through this, Another question which is optional that is included in the survey was “What kind or brand of generic medicines do you buy?”
• The brand Paracetamol was favored by the majority. The reason behind this is that Paracetamol has quality. This shows that generic medicines which are cheaper compared with branded medicines are also effective. • Through the datum being presented, there is really a need for generic medicines in the Philippines to become an alternative for very expensive branded medicines. Since the country is in poverty, people can not afford to buy what is in need. However, through the availability of generic drugs, there is a great possibility that the health condition of each and everyone will be developed.
• SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
• Generic Medicines are drugs which is produced and distributed without patent protection. Also these are being sold in a lower cost of price compared with branded medicines. They are popular in many countries especially the third world countries. Generic Medicines, even though they are cheap, are also effective. It depends on the company that made it and the type of medicine itself. The best advantage of using this is its price. Its price is very low compared to branded medicines. The Philippines is, in fact, second to Japan in having the highest medicine prices in Asia. It will not be a big impact on the context of poverty. On the side of the consumers, people say that they prefer generic medicines rather than branded medicines. There are 59 percent who prefer generic medicines and 41 percent prefer branded medicines. The most common reason why consumers prefer to buy generic medicines is because it is cheap. It is the most common answer because of poverty. People just can’t afford to buy a branded medicine that’s why people choose to buy generic medicines. It is also stated that people have a little percentage for medicines on their budget. These are the reasons why people prefer to choose and make generic medicines alternatives for branded medicines.
Generic medicines are cheaper that branded medicines. They are made to become alternatives for branded medicines. Their quality and effectiveness is also the same as the branded medicines. Their difference is just the standards. Branded medicines have higher standards than the generic medicines. Branded medicines are very expensive not because of the medicine but because of the name of the company that made it. The effectiveness and quality of generic medicines also depend on the company that made it. It also depends sometimes on the type of medicine itself. Some medicines are really studied and understood only by the companies that make branded medicines. In Philippines where poverty is everywhere, generic medicines are more preferred by the people rather than the branded medicines. People just want to use medicines that have the same effect but cheaper than branded medicines. Generic medicines are also effective and can do the same thing that branded medicines do. People first consider the price. If it is cheap, it is only the time that they’ll try its effectiveness and quality. When it is cheap, it’s better. But some people buy generic medicines because of its effectiveness. They see generic medicines as cheap version of branded medicines. If all medicines will be this effective, it will really be a big help for many countries especially in our country where poverty is very popular. Another reason why Philippines need generic medicines is because of family budget. On a survey, the budget for medicine is one of the lowest percentages in their budget. People don’t use money for their medicine anymore that is why cheaper medicines are really needed here. Another thing, the medicines in the Philippines are very expensive. People cannot afford to buy medicines anymore. Philippines really need generic medicines in its poor status today.
• Generic medicines should be used by Philippines, generic medicines that are really effective and have high quality. It will really be a big help for the Philippines if our country will have alternatives like this. People should also realize that even though generic medicines are cheap, it is not harmful to our health and there are generic medicines that are effective. People should learn to be practical and contented. Filipinos should give generic medicines a chance to prove its effectiveness and quality. If consumers will not be satisfied on its effects, then it’s the time to go for the popular branded medicines.
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