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More Filipinos buying generic drugs – DOH

Posted on: September 25, 2009

More Filipinos buying generic drugs – DOH

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:19:00 09/25/2009

Filed Under: Health, Pharmaceuticals

MANILA, Philippines – Six out of 10 Filipinos are opting for generic medicines over more expensive branded counterparts paving the way for healthy competition in the local pharmaceutical industry, according to Health secretary Francisco Duque III.

Duque said more Filipinos are buying generic-branded medicines that are up to 80 percent cheaper.

Generic drugs are quality copies of original or “innovator” medicines developed by major pharmaceutical firms.
In the Philippines, a company that develops a particular medicine has 20 years of exclusive rights to produce and sell that product.

Once this period expires, other companies can make quality copies and sell them at a lower price, as stated under Republic Act 6675 or the Generics Act of 1998.

“This emerging generation of wise consumers is growing and has prompted a reduction in prices in medicines such as paracetamol and amoxicillin, among others,” Duque said.

As part of the Generics Awareness month celebration, DOH signed an agreement with the Cancer Warriors Foundation to invest P20 million for the purchase of generic anti-cancer medicines for children with leukemia through PITC-Pharma, which offered the drug at a price five times cheaper than innovator counterparts.

Duque encouraged physicians to prescribe to patients generic drugs to remove the misconception that generics are not as effective as branded ones.

Some generic drug manufacturers put brands on their products to capitalize on this “brand mentality” but actually, 13,500 “Botika ng Barangay” (translated to Village Pharmacy) outlets nationwide sell the same quality generic drugs as low as P0.50 or P1 per tablet.

“It’s amazing that many of our countrymen do not know that what they are really using are generic drugs. For example, the generic medicine paracetamol can be bought as Biogesic, Tempra, Calpol or as generic—only the brands and price differ but they have the same quality,” said Duque.

“If more doctors prescribe generic medicines and more people use them, these will further drive down medicine prices and make medicine more accessible especially for the poor,” Duque added.

To recognize generic medicine companies and their products, DoH, together with partner agencies, is hosting the first Philippine Generics Exposition in Megatrade Hall 1, 5th floor SM Mega Mall from Friday to Saturday.

The expo offers free medical consultations and a drug manufacturing practice workshop to highlight how local generic medicine manufacturers have complied with international quality standards.

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