DOH: Make true, cheaper generics more accessible
MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos favor generic medicines over branded ones but they still pay more for “branded generics” than true generics, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Dr. Ana Melissa Guerrero, chief of the DOH’s pharmaceutical division, said branded generics comprise 52 percent of the country’s drug market share and true generic drugs, only 6 percent.
Branded generics are produced by big pharmaceutical companies such as Unilab’s Ritemed and PhilUSA’s Rhea Generics.
“A true generic drug must not have a brand. Once you put a brand on it, it already costs more,” Guerrero said at a recent briefing.
If a “true generic” drug costs P3, a branded generic may sell for P15, she said. The cost of the same drug may more than double if it is branded, Guerrero added.
“This is what we need to address. True generics still lack availability and accessibility to consumers. For DOH, there are only two kinds of medicines: branded or generics,” she said. “Only the true low-cost generics are the ones available in government.”
Under the Generics Act of 1988, “generic drugs” are medicines not covered by patent protection and are labeled solely by their generic name or formulation.
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