With its potential to double in size in the next five years, the Philippine pharmaceutical industry would succeed in attracting manufacturing investments from India if the latter can access public procurement.
At the inaugural session yesterday of the India-Philippines Pharmaceutical Cooperation and Regulatory Updates, Higinio Porte Jr. president of the Philippine Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association said the local pharmaceutical industry is the third biggest in Southeast Asia and in the past three years has posted the second highest growth in the region.
“With the implementation of the Universal Health Care, the pharmaceutical industry in the Philippines can easily double in the next five years,” Porte said without giving figures.
But estimates place the local pharmaceutical market at $3.4 billion.
Porte said there is a strong push for the government to support the local manufacturers.
This, he said , poses opportunities for India, the world’s third largest exporter of formulations.
Porte said these are in the areas of active pharmaceutical ingredients, bulk pharmaceutical products as well as products for testing and clinical testing related to pharmaceutical.
In his remarks, Indian ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran urged Indian companies to look at the proposal of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority for the establishment of a pharmaceutical ecozone.
“A long-term issue is the interest of the Philippines for India to have domestic manufacturing capacity. I have responded along the lines that unless there is sustainable commercial model wherein companies will invest manufacturing to get some potential path to public procurement, it will be difficult to do so,” Kumaran said.
He, however, noted both countries can explore innovative partnerships.
The Philippines is India’s largest pharmaceutical market in Asean.
Its overall market of imports is about $1.5 billion with Indian companies the single largest source.
“There is acknowledgement that India has contributed to lowering prices of medications for chronic ailments in the Philippines.
There is potential growth in bringing new molecules in (addressing) chronic illness,” he added.
Kumaran expressed hope India would be able to obtain emergency use authority for its Covaxin vaccine against COVID-19, as this will be an important milestone in the relationship between India and the Philippines.