Changing the Status Quo: A Report from the Philippines. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 007 (1988)
(1988; 2 pages)


In 1987, the Philippines launched its new National Drug Policy in response to a perceived need to supply Filipinos with access to safe, effective, and affordable drugs. The policy has four main components: drug supply, rational use, local production, and improved drug procurement. Improving drug supply began with strengthening the capabilities of the Bureau of Food and Drugs. This process included building a new quality control lab, reviewing systems and procedures, and computerizing product registration. Drugs that had been banned, withdrawn, or restricted in other countries were set be removed from the National Drug Product Registry. Promoting rational use included several key elements, such as developing a national formulary, implementing and enforcing the generics law of 1988, increasing drug information for prescribers and consumers, and establishing new guidelines for drug promotion. The third element of the Policy sought to use local production as a means of developing greater self-reliance. Specific steps to encourage local production included the inception of a medicinal plants programme, the manufacturing of oral rehydration salts by the Department of Health, and a joint Philippines-UNIDO study to identify pharmaceutical intermediates or active ingredients. The Philippines also intended to begin local production of USP grade dextrose and sodium chloride, vaccines, and various biological. Lastly, the government improved its drug procurement procedures. These new procedures used generic nomenclature and generated 30% savings in the Philippines. At the time of the article, many elements of the policy had yet to be implemented. The government recognized that there were obstacles to overcome, but felt confident in the Policy because of widespread public support. (Abstract by Flannery Bowman, 2013)

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