Pharma industry commits efforts to help fight COVID-19, seeks economic relief to recover from pandemic

The pharmaceutical industry in the Philippines commits to continue its efforts to help the  country fight COVID-19 even as the industry reels from the devastating impact of the  pandemic.  

Similar to other businesses operating in the country, the research-based pharmaceutical  industry is seeking economic relief from the government to help them recover from the ill  effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), representing  the research-based providers of life-saving medicines, vaccines and diagnostics in the  country, said the pharmaceutical industry is confronting the burden of providing quality  medicines to Filipinos while battling market contractions.  

“We have seen a significant contraction in the prescription market, and we expect it to  continue to worsen in the coming months due to disruptions in the supply. We are  confronting the twin burden of making available medicines needed by Filipinos every day  as well as the need for us to recover from unexpected losses due to the pandemic,” PHAP  Executive Director Mr. Teodoro Padilla said.  

Market contractions are due to logistical challenges, unforeseen and unplanned  expenses, as well as fluctuating forecasts and inventories. It is also struggling due to  expenses related to credit delays, impairment of assets, and the need to manufacture  and operate under the new normal in the Philippines and globally.  

“The industry also needs economic relief to help keep the sector afloat. While we try to  remain steadfast amid these trying times, we also need support because we are also  hurting, and yet the role we play in this time is more important than ever. We do not only  endeavor to find the treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, we are also exerting all efforts  to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medicines and vaccines needed by our fellow  Filipinos,” said Padilla.  

He added, “If you may have noticed, reports of out-of-stocks for life-saving medicines are  minimal despite global lockdowns due to the efforts our Members. Aside from that, there  is conscious effort from our Members not to pass on the additional expenses we incur to  keep prices steady.” 

Despite the challenges, PHAP Members continue to implement various corporate social  responsibility initiatives to help support Government efforts in combating the pandemic. 

PHAP Members and the PHAPCares Foundation have contributed about P120M monetary and in-kind donations to the country’s COVID-19 response. The efforts were launched to help protect frontliners and support more than 1.5 million families and over  155 hospitals nationwide. 

Beneficiaries include government and private hospitals, charitable institutions,  government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), among others. In kind donations of PHAP Members consist of Personal Protective Equipment sets, test  kits, ventilators, medicines, vitamins, vaccines, personal hygiene items, disinfectants,  food packs for frontline health workers, and transportation assistance for patients.  Employees of PHAP Member companies are also volunteering in community efforts to  support frontline health workers and patients impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in the  country. 

“Our member companies have proactively helped in the battle against COVID-19. We will  continue to support the efforts of both the public and the private sectors to mitigate the  adverse effects of this pandemic and help our country recover once again,” said  PHAPCares Foundation Executive Director Dr. Rosarita Quijano-Siasoco.  

Since 2003, the PHAPCares Foundation has raised around P1 billion in medicine and  financial assistance to Filipinos disadvantaged by sickness, poverty, conflicts and  disasters. PHAPCares is accredited by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification as a  donee institution and is a registered institution at the Department of Social Welfare and  Development (DSWD).  

Government and private hospitals, charitable institutions, government and  nongovernment agencies have benefited from these social responsibility initiatives, as  PHAP seeks to further collaborate and forge partnerships with both the public and private sectors.  

“Our goal as an organization is to advance the research and development of medicines  and life-saving therapies for Filipinos, and this has never been more pronounced as it is  today,” Padilla said. “We are doing steps to contain and fight the pandemic but we also  want to collaborate on pandemic preparedness because COVID-19 will not be the last  health challenge that we will have to confront.” 

Driven by the same commitment to advocate for improved health for Filipinos, PHAP is  working with churchill Integrated Public Relations to advance their shared health  objectives with utmost integrity during these unprecedented times.