When the Generics Drugs Act of 1998 was passed into law and was aptly called, the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, the Philippines pharmaceutical industry, especially the manufacturing and distributors had been badly hit. Among them is my company – United Laboratories, Inc. or Unilab.
The Maximum Drug Retail Price is mandated under Executive Order 821 series of 2009 to make medicine affordable and accessible to Filipinos. MDRP is required on drugs that reduce the incidence of morbidity and mortality. That is, provision of MDRP to 5 molecules of the 22 pharmaceutical products (molecules) in the DOH list. MDRP is imposed on all retail outlets, public or private, including drugstores, hospitals and hospital pharmacies, health maintenance organizations, convenience stores, supermarkets, and other sources – Manufacturing and Distribution sources, included.
This resulted to a decrease in price of our medicines with these 5 molecules to about 41 to 60%! Since the 5 molecules consist of about 10% of our total Ethical business, it has affected too much our target sales thereby punishing the company’s bottomline. Considering that one of the factors the MDRP wants solved is the reduction of prices of medicines, it has went its way towards the profitability of affected industries.
During the early stages of the policy implementation, no less than the Secretary of Health led surprise inspection trips of drug stores. A few weeks and months after the policy was implemented, 80-90 percent compliance rate among 40,000 drugstores and hospital pharmacies had been reported by the media (PIDS, 2009). The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), the group of affected drug firms, have resigned to the reality of the price control law, and committed to abide by it. Thus, all our immediate