FACED with a possible price cap, the Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) yesterday offered to reduce prices of around 150 medicines by as much as 75 percent.
The offer comes weeks after the Department of Health submitted to Malacañang a draft executive order listing 122 medicines and drugs that will be subjected to maximum drug retail prices.
The executive order, if signed by President Duterte, will reduce drug prices by as much as 56 percent, including medicines for hypertension, diabetes, major cancers, chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases, and cardiovascular disease.
Covered by PHAP’s offer are around 150 medicines for 36 disease categories, including for heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, asthma, psoriasis, neurologic disorders, HIV, and infectious diseases, among others. Also offered for price cuts are medicines for various types of cancers such as breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, kidney, ovarian, lymphomas, and prostate.
PHAP executive director Teodoro Padilla said his group is making the offer because it believes the issue of the high cost of medicines will be addressed better by reducing drug prices instead of imposing price controls.
“The proposal to impose price control needs further study and consultation with the stakeholders,” he said.
Padilla also said his group wants to disprove the perception that pharmaceutical companies have been overpricing their products.
“We develop medicines because we know they will save lives. It is a noble mission that only a few would take on because medicine and vaccine research and development is a very complicated process. Yet we persevere to develop and make them available to as many people as possible. We practice responsible pricing,” he said.
Padilla said the group is prepared to offer medicines to the general public at a price often availed of by government in bulk procurements.
“It is actually at these levels of prices which we have been selling to the government in bulk in the past years,” said Padilla.
“Several of our members are prepared to extend these same price reductions to the public, if the Department of Health will agree,” he added.
“These price reductions are generally expected to be felt throughout the supply chain, from manufacturers down to both government and private retail drugstores and pharmacies that dispense medicines directly to the public,” he also said.