Public's knowledge on generic drugs has increased, says DOH

Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2022 08:59 PM

MANILA – The public's knowledge about generic medicines has increased throughout the years, according to the Department of Health.

Health Officer-In-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the market share of originator drugs is around 42 percent, while branded generics is at 56 percent and unbranded generics at 6 percent.

“So when you merge this branded and unbranded, you have around 58 percent share of the market where people are buying generics. That alone would show you that the information or awareness of people about generics would be high already,” she told the Philippine Generics Summit in Manila.

Prior to the enactment of the Generics Act of 1988, the health official said that the public’s patronage of generic drugs was only less than 10 percent.

However, the agency says continuous effort must be done to encourage more preference for local manufacturers, as well as unbranded generics, with emphasis that efficacy and effectiveness being the same rate as that of branded counterparts.

"Whether it be branded or unbranded generics, pareho lang yan ng safety, efficacy, pareho lang 'yan ng ibibigay na effectiveness laban sakit na iyon," Vergeire said.

(Whether it be branded or unbranded generics, there's no difference when it comes to safety and effectiveness against a particular disease.)

Anti-Red Tape Officer-In-Charge Ernesto Perez also reminds the public that doctors’ prescriptions should also include generic names of medicines which would help them to look for cheaper options for the drug.

The DOH also assures that generic drugs are also in ample supply, especially those that help in treating symptoms of COVID-19. 

It can be recalled that in the early part of 2022, news of the shortage of certain drugs came to the fore.

Despite the record slump of the Philippine peso, officials say that prices of medicines remain stable due to the implementation of the Maximum Drug Retail Price.

Vergeire says policies have also been made during the pandemic that lowered the prices of commonly used medicines for hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and chronic kidney disease among others.

The Department of Trade and Industry, for its part, says they continue to monitor warehouses, especially those that manufacture and sell counterfeit drugs.

According to the DOH, the Philippine pharmaceutical market is now worth P228 billion out of more than P890 billion in current health expenditures in the country. 

Breaking this down further, 90 percent is spent in retail drug stores, 6 percent in private hospitals, and 4 percent in government hospitals.

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