Gov?t pushes use of generic drugs

Teddie Elson Rivera, executive vice president of the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), said the company is set to increase anew its investments next year for the purchase of generic drugs, which are sourced locally and through parallel importation.


PITC, a government-owned and controlled corporation, is a lead implementer of the government's half-priced medicine program.


"Our goal is to lower down the prices of medicine prices by half by the year 2010 by providing a steady supply of quality generic drugs," he said at a gathering of government health workers in Koronadal City.


Rivera said they are presently working on the expansion of its distribution systems through the Botika ng Bayan and Botika ng Barangay program, government hospitals and other outlets accredited with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).


He said there are at least 8,148 half-priced medicine outlets currently operating in the country, 1,155 of which are Botika ng Bayans and 6,998 are Botika ng Barangays.


"By 2010, we envision that our network will reach 30,000, parallel inputs of at least 75 brands and a sales value of $2 to $2.2 billion, or 50 to 70-percent increase (from the present sales value)," Rivera said.


In Region XII alone, there are at least 21 Botika ng Bayans and 116 Botika ng Barangays.


South Cotabato presently has 44 existing Botika ng Barangays, the highest in the region.


These Botika ng Barangays, which are managed by barangay health workers, are financed by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and are monitored by DOH and BFAD.


Aside from the expansion of their retail outlets, Rivera said PITC and the DOH will launch another round of massive education and promotion campaign regarding generic drugs.


"To date, the high-priced branded medicines continue to dominate the markets because there is a strong public perception that generic medicines are of lower quality," he said.


Rivera said they are working to reverse the trend by continually educating the public about the benefits and the effectiveness of generic medicine.


"Safe and effective medicines should not be expensive and they must be accessible to everyone," he added.