Recently, the pharmaceutical industry has come under policy scrutiny, studies made by the DOH-DTI in 1999 showed that 5 out of 9 drugs sampled had higher prices in the Philippines than in Malaysia or Indonesia. An earlier study by the Health Action International (HAI, an international NGO) showed that Amoxil, an antibiotic manufactured by Smithkline Beecham, a multinational, sold at a higher price in the Philippine than in UK or Canada.
Because of numerous public complaints about the high price of drugs and medicines in the country, the government has taken several measures to regulate their prices, including issuance of several administrative orders and importations of some medicines. Several bills have also been filed in both houses of congress addressing this problems.
Methodology: Primary data were gathered from interviews/round table meetings with stakeholders. Data from government agencies such as the bureau of Customs, Department of Health, Securities and Exchange Commission were also gathered and reviewed. Transcripts of congressional hearings on drug prices were also reviewed and analyzed. Published information from newspapers, journals and other publications were also used in this study.
Conclusion: Efforts at finding solutions to the problem of high drug prices should be directed at both the international and national fronts, instituting both medium and long term measures, enlisting the cooperation of all concerned sectors and learning from experience of other countries.
The present study examined the pharmaceutical industry in the Philippines for the factors responsible for the high cost of drugs and the various proposals put forward to reduce drug prices.
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