Tax reform a boost for PH healthcare: Glaxo Smithkline

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2017 12:43 PM | Updated as of Jul 12 2017 01:18 PM

MANILA - Higher government revenues from President Rodrigo Duterte's tax reform program will bring the Philippines closer to universal health care, British pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Smithkline said Wednesday.

The president and general manager of GSK Philippines, Lynn Baxter, noted how excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol helped fund health care services for the poor.

Baxter told ANC's The Boss that she expected a "dramatic increase" in health care spending as the economy grows at one of the fastest rates in Asia.

"It's really exciting to see the growth of the Philippine economy. It looks set to continue," said Baxter, the first female to head GSK's Philippine operations.

Tax reform a boost for PH healthcare: Glaxo Smithkline 1
GSK Philippines president and general manager Lynn Baxter speaks to Cathy Yang for ANC's The Boss

Baxter said GSK's operations were unaffected by the peso's weakness against the dollar, since the company pegs costs to the British pound. GSK's operations in the Philippines caters to the local market and exports a portion to Southeast Asian neighbors.

She said the company was innovating to deal with the squeeze from generic drugs, which account for 65 percent of total sales volume according to government data.

Wrongful use of prescription medicine is the most pressing issue in the industry, Baxter said, adding GSK was working with doctors and allied professionals to address this.