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PHAP, PCC vow to foster healthy competition

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) pledged to work together in promoting healthy competition and a business environment conducive to innovation.

Top officials of the two organizations made this commitment during a webinar on the Philippine Competition Act (PCA) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) recently organized by the PCC.

“This webinar is designed to enable PHAP member companies to acquire the competition lens and be sufficiently equipped to help promote a vibrant competition culture in the country, particularly in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector,” said Arsenio Balisacan, chairman of the PCC, an independent quasi-judicial government agency created in 2016 to promote and maintain market competition in the country.

Balisacan noted the inclusion of the pharmaceutical sector among the PCC’s priority sectors for 2020 and highlighted its key role in the fight against COVID-19. The PCC chairman described the webinar as a crucial step toward cultivating the appreciation of competition principles and its benefits, as well as fostering free and fair competition in the market.

 “Equally important, this webinar continues the dialogue between the pharmaceutical sector stakeholders and the government. It is only through effective communication between the private and public sectors that we can better the healthcare provision in the country.”

For its part, PHAP President Dr. Beaver Tamesis cited the establishment of the PCC as a testament to the government’s strong commitment to foster competition for inclusive growth.

“We hope that the government, through the PCC, can urgently help the research-based pharmaceutical industry by creating a business environment conducive to innovation. This can be achieved by building capabilities for advanced science, technology, and innovation; formulating policies that enable, support and incentivize innovation; and forging public-private partnerships to ensure pharmaceutical security and improve access to medicines,” said Balisacan.

“We thank the PCC for organizing this timely webinar for the benefit of PHAP and our 39 member companies. We hope that this webinar is just the beginning of our many conversations. Through these dialogues, we realize all the more that we share the same objectives of attaining better health for Filipinos and achieving a more vibrant economy for the country. Rest assured that we at PHAP aspire to contribute to your mandate of ensuring fair market competition for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the government,” said PHAP Executive Director Mr. Teodoro Padilla.

Instead of price controls on medicines, PHAP appealed to the government to consider subsidies for healthcare, price negotiation and pooled procurement as alternative mechanisms in reducing prices of medicines.
 
Price negotiation and pooled procurement are tools provided under the Universal Health Care Act to help the government evaluate the value of innovative medicines vis à vis industry cost and sustainability. Moreover, adopting a price negotiation scheme will bring down prices as has been shown in other countries to which the Philippines is being compared with. These countries employ a single payer system where the government negotiates and buys on their citizens’ behalf.

Tamesis also pointed out that pooled procurement and price negotiations are also provided under the National Integrated Cancer Control Act, which together with the UHC Act call for private sector participation to facilitate both laws’ full implementation.

“PHAP and our member companies are committed to support the government in making these landmark health laws benefit the poor, marginalized and vulnerable. Through the PCC, we request the government to consider more sustainable approaches to improving access to medicines. These include increasing budget and providing subsidies for health, expanding pooled procurement, and institutionalizing price negotiation,” said Tamesis.

During the webinar, resource speakers from the PCC presented the agency’s tools and mechanisms in upholding market competition including enforcement, advocacy, merger review, and comprehensive economic research. They discussed when and how these mechanisms may be used to address issues faced by the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/18/phap-pcc-vow-to-foster-healthy-competition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=phap-pcc-vow-to-foster-healthy-competition)

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