Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants Philippines to boost local medicine production

2023 March 29

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. wants the country to enhance local drug manufacturing and secure a stockpile of medicine in preparation for any emergency.

“Let’s maximize the local production. The initial reason why this came up is the supply problems that we encountered during the lockdowns so we need to be prepared. We should be able to produce the local supply of essential medicines,” the President said during a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) healthcare sector group in Malacanang Palace Wednesday.

The Department of Health (DOH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be working with the private sector to identify medicines that can be produced locally and maximize the utilization of capacity of local pharmaceutical manufacturers, particularly the production of basic medicines for poor Filipino patients such as anti-tuberculosis drugs.

It was agreed on during the meeting for the PSAC to monitor new technologies in healthcare that can be used for geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas and recommend those to the DOH and PhilHealth.

The PSAC will also study the feasibility of establishing remote diagnostics centers and assess new medical technologies and their costs.

In line with the President’s commitment to lower drug prices and improve access to medicines, the PSAC also pursued the strengthening of the FDA by digitalization of its information systems (IS).

This project includes the upgrading of 10 IS, such as the electronic certificate of the product registration information system.

The overall digitalization rate is 72.5 percent, and the target for full digitalization is August this year, the PSAC reported.

The advisory council said once digitalized, other systems, such as new chemical entity renewal, certificate of listing of the identical drug product (CLIDP), and post-marketing surveillance, shall follow.

Among those who attended the PSAC meeting were Sabin Aboitiz Strategic convenor president and CEO Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.; Paolo Maximo Borromeo, Healthcare lead president and CEO of Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc; Fr. Nicanor Austriaco Jr., Healthcare Sector Member and Filipino-American molecular biologist; Dr. Nicanor Montoya, Healthcare Sector Member and CEO of Medicard Philippines, Inc.; DOH officer in charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, and CHED chairperson J. Prospero de Vera III.