Foreign firms eye Philippines’ pharmaceutical sector

By Iris Gonzales

MANILA, Philippines - Some of the country’s existing pharmaceutical players have expressed interest in participating in the Philippine International Trading Corp.’s plan to set up economic zones all over the country.

Chinese, Russian and Indian firms have also signified their interest in participating in the project, PITC president Dave Almarinez said in a recent interview with The STAR.

PITC is the trading arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

It is putting up economic zones dedicated for pharmaceutical companies as it aims to make the Philippines a major manufacturing hub for medicines in the region, making it at par with India and other pharmaceutical hubs in the world.

There are big conglomerates that want to enter the pharmaceutical market.

Almarinez said members of the Philippine and Healthcare Association of the Philippines have expressed interest in joining the project.

The government would provide incentives for players in these economic zones, which would benefit Filipino consumers because this would result in lower prices, Almarinez also said.

“We will work together with the industry to bring down prices (of medicines),” he said.

Almarinez revealed the pharmazone project during his recent report on his first 100 days in office.

The rationale behind the creation of these so-called pharmazones is to manufacture specialized and quality high-end healthcare products that are accessible and affordable to the Filipino people.

 “The design is that these pharmazones will belong to a specific class of private special economic zone strategically situated in a private Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) area where pharmaceutical goods may be landed, handled, manufacture or reconfigured and re-exported,” Almarinez said.

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