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The Philippines: OTC and Pharma market

Aug 20, 2013

The Philip­pines is consistently ranked as thetenthmost attrac­tive OTC and Pharma mar­ket in the Asia-Pacific region and as the third-largest mar­ket in ASEAN (after Indone­sia and Thai­land). The bulk of sales in the Philip­pines comes from pre­scrip­tion drugs, which rep­re­sent approx­i­mately 70% of the country’s total phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sales.

OTC prod­ucts account for around 24% of the country’s total pharmaceutical sales, with nutri­tional prod­ucts occu­py­ing the remain­ing share of the pie. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal patents and trade­marks are well-secured in the Philip­pines; the country’s intel­lec­tual prop­erty code metes out harsh penal­ties for the infringe­ment of patent and trade­mark rights, which indi­cates a good start­ing point for con­sid­er­ing this Emerg­ing Mar­ket as an invest­ment platform.

The top causes of mor­tal­ity and mor­bid­ity in the Philippines are still res­pi­ra­tory and car­dio­vas­cu­lar-related dis­eases, which is reflected in the strong demand for drugs that meet these needs. There are five major phar­macy chains in the Philip­pines: Gener­ika Drug­store, Wat­sons, South Star Drug, Rose Phar­macy Inc, and Mer­cury Drug, the last of which accounts for approx­i­mately 85% of prod­uct sales.

The rest is dis­trib­uted among hos­pi­tals and other gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions. Multi-na­tional com­pa­nies are the main play­ers in this mar­ket, account­ing for approx­i­mately 65% of the total share, with national com­pa­nies occu­py­ing the remain­ing 35%. For­eign phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies con­trol at least 75% of the local drug mar­ket in the Philip­pines. In order to place a prod­uct in the Philip­pines, it must first be reg­is­tered with the Philip­pine Bureau of Food and Drugs. Once all the nec­es­sary doc­u­ments are in order, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal reg­is­tra­tion process is rel­a­tively straight­for­ward.

The local phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sec­tor is a mix of man­u­fac­tur­ers, traders, and some­thing in-between. The top spot is occu­pied by a local giant: United Lab­o­ra­to­ries. Uni­lab, as it is referred to, accounts for 25% of the total sales of the top 20 Pharma com­pa­nies. Other locals included in this ‘top list’ are Pas­cual Lab­o­ra­to­ries, Natrapharm and GX Inter­na­tional.

The Philip­pines OTC sec­tor is dom­i­nated by three Fil­ipino phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies that con­trol over half the sec­tor. The Philip­pines generic industry is actively backed by the gov­ern­ment and is led by Uni­lab.

CPC Press Releases on the Philippines:

The Philippines – TRIUMPH country