Lower costs can help reset Filipino mindset on health care: Unilab

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 06 2018 10:25 AM

Poor patients wait for their turn to at the Philippine Orthopedic Hospital in Quezon City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Health care costs should be brought down to help Filipinos overcome their "bias" against seeking proper care, an official of drug-maker Unilab's foray into the sector said.

The Reliance chain of clinics offers rates that are up to 40 percent lower compared to hospitals and treats up to 300,000 annually, said Unilab corporate vice president and general manager of healthcare services Dave San Pedro.

"Filipinos have a cultural bias against going straight to the hospital. The challenge for that is it's very expensive," San Pedro said in an interview aired Wednesday on ANC's Early Edition.

"If you look at affordability, there has to be a shift towards something that has to be more affordable," he said.

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Healthcare contributes 5 percent to Unilab's business since it was conceived half a decade ago, San Pedro said, adding a growing young population was expected to drive demand.

"This is an area that is completely underserved. I think were just sitting on a ticking time bomb," he said.

In the US, up to 56 percent of surgical procedures are done on an out-patient basis, illustrating the potential of healthcare, he said.

Health clinics keep prices low by removing the overhead costs associated with running hospitals, he said.