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We Are Still Not Independent of Foreign Drug Firms (Phillipines)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

The Philippines has the second most expensive pharmaceutical drug prices in Asia behind Japan, far higher than prices found in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, and other Asian nations, writes Neal Cruz. One main reason is that the Philippines awards brand-name drugs 25-year exclusive patents, and many people in the country cannot afford Western-level or Japan-level prices. In addition, foreign firms won 2,097 patents in the Philippines between 2001 and 2005, while native drug companies won a single patent. In terms of pricing, hypertension drug Norvasc sells for 41.41 pesos per 5-mg tablet in the Philippines. In India the same drug by the same company sells for 5.77 pesos per tablet. A Ventolin inhaler for asthmatics costs 315 pesos in the Philippines and 126.78 pesos in India. The Philippines has a 85 billion peso drug market. The government should make a greater effort to import low-cost medicines, and should boost funding for Philippine International Trading to import and produce low-cost drugs, argues Cruz. (Click here for more

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