MANILA – It took some time and money to convince Filipinos that affordable generic medicines offer the same benefits as branded ones, the co-founder of Generika Drugstore said Friday.
It was the French social worker Julien Bello's idea to sell generic medicines to help the people save on costs, Generika Drugstore co-founder and chairman Ted Ferrer told Cathy Yang in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss.
“People were buying very expensive branded medicines and he was saying there are alternative quality medicines with very big savings,” Ferrer said.
It was "a big challenge" promoting generic products at first due to the smuggling of low quality products, Ferrer said, adding that doctors also endorse branded medicines.
They lost money for the first 3 years before their efforts paid off as consumers realize the benefits of generic medicines, Ferrer said. Generika's partnership with Ayala Corp also enabled them to reach a wider market, he said.
"Some people finally used them and they found that it gives them the same therapeutic benefits,” he said.
More than the success of the business, Ferrer said he was pleased with the increased awareness of Filipinos in using affordable alternatives.
”I am very pleased to say that our initiative also encouraged other businessmen to put up similar pharmacies and the combined effect is that, a widespread acceptance of generic medicines,” Ferrer said.