Pharma group urges government to review drug price cap
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - June 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) is urging government to revisit the price caps on medicines given the impact of COVID-19 on the industry as prices under Executive Order 104 recently took effect.

In a statement yesterday, PHAP said they want an opportunity  for the Department of Health and the industry to revisit the references, criteria for selection, bases and impact of the proposed price reductions for transparency, and come out with prices that balance the needs of patients with viability of medicine manufacturers.

“The implementation of price cuts comes at a critical period wherein companies and the country must start economic recovery. The challenges in logistics, global competition for supplies, and stockpiling, have led to unforeseen and unplanned expenses impacting operations,” PHAP said.

As the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry has been absorbing significant increases in expenses to keep manufacturing plants, warehouses, and retail stores open, as well as charter flights, the group had hoped the government would defer implementation of the EO.

EO 104 imposes a maximum retail price or maximum wholesale price for certain drugs and medicines including those for hypertension, cancer and diabetes

The order was issued to help improve the people’s access to health care.

Price caps under the EO took effect last June 2.

PHAP said it is committed to hold dialogue and work with the government in implementing measures to make current medicines more accessible and affordable in the country.

“In light of the current national calamity brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused unprecedented and massive economic impact to the entire country, we can also explore other sustainable approaches such as price negotiations, patient access programs and other measures under various laws so as not to further aggravate the setbacks that many companies like ours have endured these past months,” PHAP said.

As an industry taking the lead in developing medicines, vaccines and diagnostic tests for COVID-19, the group is hopeful the government would provide an environment conducive to innovation.

“With the government’s help, we can ensure that research-based pharmaceutical companies can continue to be present in the Philippines, and re-invest into research and development to contain COVID-19, and fight any future pandemics,” the group said.

Apart from being involved in research and development of medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, PHAP is helping fight COVID-19 by ensuring the availability of medicine supply despite global lockdowns and providing support to protect frontliners.

PHAP is composed of providers of quality and life-saving medicines in the country.

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