DOH: 5 of 6 Pinoys prefer generic drugs

    ANGELES CITY – Five out of every six Filipinos now patronize generics drugs, the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Luzon said yesterday at it hosts this Wednesday the Luzon-wide 22nd anniversary of the Generics Act of 1988.

    The DOH’s regional office based in San Fernando, Pampanga said a Generics Expo will be held for two days at the SM mall here staring Sept.  29 to further counter “negative perceptions against generic medicines.”

    “Such negative perceptions are result of the vast advertisements and promotions of large companies for branded and expensive medicines in the country,” the DOH office said in a press release to local media persons invited to the event sponsored by the DOH’s National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management (NCPAM). The event will carry the theme, “We love Generics: Join Our Generation”.

    The DOH said the government “has achieved a lot in correcting such perceptions” as it noted a survey indicating that generic medicines “are now usually bought by about 55 percent of the Filipino people.”       

    “In other words, 5 to 6 out of 10 Filipinos are now using generic medicines today. In 2003, a survey indicated patronage of only 47 percent,” the DOH also noted.

    The DOH also cited latest statistics indicating that “people who thought medicines are cheaper now also increased from 11 percent in 1999 to 42 percent.”

    “In fact, one of the beneficiaries of generics are children cancer patients in DOH hospitals. In partnership with the Cancer Warriors Foundation, 300 children with leukemia were served generic anti-cancer medications during its pilot implementation. The branded counterparts of such medications would have benefited only 60 patients at the same cost,” the DOH also said.

    In the past three years under the government, as part of the 8th Millennium Development Goals, the DOH achieved unprecedented gains in generic medicines promotion  in collaboration with  pharmaceutical firms and other stakeholders, the DOH regional office also said.

    It noted that the DOH held its first generic summit which featured medicines certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as compliant with the so-called Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

    “The quality of generics has improved through requirements under GMP standards. Along with this, the DOH has a continuing year-round campaign for generics to further boost public awareness of them,” the DOH also said.

    The DOH also said that since generic drugs were introduced in the country, more poor families which used to refrain from purchasing expensive medicines for sick relatives now avail themselves of inexpensive generic alternatives.

    “Generic medicines have become unsung heroes in the flight against costly, expensive, abusively-priced medicines. All these years, the DOH and companies producing generic medicines have been successfully competing against the high-priced counterparts,” the DOH added.

    The DOH said that competition posed by generics drugs has even brought down the prices of some branded medicines.


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