Local pharma sector to become a P200-B industry by 2022: BMI Research

MANILA -- The Philippine pharmaceutical sector is expected to grow into a PHP198.9-billion industry by the year 2022 from its current value of PHP162.3 billion, a unit of Fitch Group forecasted.

BMI Research reported Monday that its optimism is founded on the country's growing and ageing population, improving access to healthcare, and rise of chronic diseases due to changing lifestyles and urbanization.

It added that the better business climate in the country encourages multinational pharmaceutical firms to operate here. Global pharmaceutical companies that are operating in the country include Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, and Roche. The think tank also noted that the Philippines continues to be the fourth largest pharmaceutical market in ASEAN, next to Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

However, BMI Research said the proliferation of counterfeit medicines in the local market remains a key risk. The report said high local demand for low-value medications is driving the operations of fake drugmakers and distributors in the country.

“We believe that counterfeit drugmakers and suppliers will continue to distribute and manufacture medicines in the country as long as low-value medications are in demand as affordable yet authentic medicines are hard to find in the Philippines,” the Fitch Group unit said.

Data from the World Health Organization showed that one in 10 medical products in low- and middle-income countries like the Philippines is substandard or fake.

BMI Research cited the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for seizing some PHP5.9 million worth of fake medicines, mostly coming from China, India, and Pakistan. It added that in January 2017 alone, the FDA seized PHP3-million fake over-the-counter and anti-impotence drugs in a hospital in Manila.

Meanwhile, BMI Research also acknowledged that the Duterte administration's tough stance against importers and producers of fake medicines as well as increasing consumer awareness, are the key factors supporting the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. (PNA)