Medicines Transparency Alliance - Philippines. On The Path To Medicines For All
(2015; 12 pages)


Improving access to quality medicines for the most vulnerable in the Philippines is an enormous challenge. More than a quarter of the Philippine population was still in poverty when MeTA began,1 making affordability of medicines critical. Yet statistics showed that most of the nation’s health spending was being borne by households. Of household expenditure on health, two-thirds was spent on medicines. The reasons Philippines patients have been responsible for such a significant proportion of out-of-pocket medicines costs are many, but one of the key challenges has been inefficiencies in medicines procurement. Prices paid for medicines have varied from one hospital to another – sometimes even within hospitals. Regulation of the medicines supply chain has been weak and storage practices have been wanting. Patients have been left out of the healthcare dialogue, and there has been a lack of awareness among consumers about what health benefits they are entitled to. The situation demands a comprehensive package of policy responses to pave the way to improved access to quality medicines.

The Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) pilot began in the Philippines in 2008. Its mission was to contribute to good governance, transparency and accountability across the medicines supply chain, by engaging all stakeholders with an interest in improving health outcomes. Since then, a small secretariat overseen by a board of trustees has built MeTA into an 80-member alliance of individuals and organizations from civil society, government and industry.

MeTA has brought academics, civil society organizations and patients around the same table as professional associations, the private sector and government in meaningful dialogue. Issues are identified and debated. Points of contention often remain, but so too is consensus reached. The process has elevated the concerns of the patient in the policy-making process and has brought new scrutiny to government decision making. MeTA has laid the foundations for increasingly accessible safe, effective and quality medicines and their rational use.

The Philippines is one of seven countries to adopt MeTA– the programme is also active in Ghana, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Uganda and Zambia. It is currently funded by the UK Government through the Department for International Development.

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