April 14, 2024

Key stakeholders are keen on inviting pharmaceutical companies from Japan, Taiwan, and Cuba to establish their manufacturing facilities in the Philippines as the country expands its science and technology base.

Lawyer Jose Maria Ochave, senior vice president for business development of Unilab Inc., said they seek to improve government-to-government (G2G) engagement with countries which have a higher likelihood of forging technology transfer relationships.

Ochave cited Japan as an example, noting there is a push on the part of the Japanese government for its population to use generic medicines.

“We all know it’s very expensive to produce not just medicine but any other product in Japan and therefore, there is a thought that perhaps you can invite the Japanese to come over, establish their facilities in the Philippine Export Zone, especially for the Japanese market,” he said.

“What’s the benefit to us? The benefit is that our own manpower here gets to be trained by these Japanese pharmaceutical companies and we expand our science and technology base here,” he added.

Ochave said Taiwan is also a potential for G2G engagement as it has a “very small market” and the Philippine market is “big” for them.

“Any manufacturer (like) Taiwanese manufacturers may find it encouraging to establish a facility here in the Philippines,” he said.

Ochave also identified Cuba given its advanced science and technology.

“I think the preference of Cuba is always G2G. We don’t know whether this is possible but I think we are going to try,” he added.

Ochave presented the result of the consultation for the health and life sciences cluster.

Health and life sciences is among the industry clusters prioritized by the Department of Trade and Industry for the next six years. Others are the industry, manufacturing and transport cluster; technology, media and telecommunications cluster; and modern basic needs and resilient economy cluster.

Ochave cited other recommendations of participants of the health and life sciences cluster, including aligning policies of various agencies to encourage local manufacturing.

“One example is having a green lane for product registration for locally manufactured products and if possible given our existing procurement laws to give preferential treatment to locally manufactured products, especially for government purchases,” he said.

Ochave also highlighted the need to strengthen public-private partnership to improve access to innovative medicines instead of focusing on price control that tends to inhibit entry of these medicines. – Press release