The expansion of universal healthcare coverage and significant growth in the use and acceptance of generics across the Philippines pose a significant challenge to the innovative medicines industry but also offers a wealth of opportunities for both international and domestic players.
The Philippines now utilizes low-cost generics more than any other country in the Asia-Pacific region
The Philippines has seen its GDP post strong growth in the recent years, with figures in 2016 expected to show 6.0 percent growth, making the country one of the fastest growing economies in the world. At the same time, the country is expanding its coverage of universal healthcare for all Filipino citizens, slated to cover 95 percent of the population by this year. However, despite these new expenditures within PhilHealth, the national health insurance program, the level of coverage patients receive is limited. Regardless, the opportunities for growth seen by the pharmaceutical industry are clear, especially in generics.
Currently, generics account for around 40 percent of the Philippine drug market by value and 60-65 percent by volume, and stand as the segment with the most rapid growth in the country’s healthcare market.
Currently, generics account for around 40 percent of the Philippine drug market by value and 60-65 percent by volume, and stand as the segment with the most rapid growth in the country’s healthcare market. This growth is expected to continue, and represents a growing acceptance of generics by the Filipino population. This fact is made even more clear considering that the Philippines now utilizes low-cost generics more than any other country in the Asia-Pacific region.
The rapid increase in the generic market has caused ripple effects throughout the pharmaceutical industry. To compete with this, many companies have had to decrease their prices of branded pharmaceutical products, in some cases by nearly 60%, a trend will likely continue, as the Filipino population continues to become more comfortable with generic medicines.This represents growth opportunities for both foreign and local manufactures, especially when considering the emphasis currently being placed on expanding and improving universal healthcare in the country. How the innovative industry responds to the growing demand for generics remains to be fully seen, and will be a key question looking towards the future of the healthcare industry in the Philippines.
Writer: Brandon Mourich