Indian pharma firms seek eased rules on entry to PH market

By Kris Crismundo

February 27, 2021, 5:38 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – Indian pharmaceutical companies want to expand their presence in the Philippines but stringent domestic laws become barriers for them to enter and be competitive in the local market.

In a joint webinar of the Federation of Indian Chambers and Commerce (Phil.) Inc. (FICCI) and the Indian Business Forum Philippine Association Inc. (IBF) Friday, IBF director Aseem Roy have mentioned some recommendations to the government to increase trade and investment between the two countries in the pharmaceutical industry.

Roy said one of the challenges of Indian pharmaceutical firms in the Philippines is the slow approval of products' registration by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“What we hear most frequently is the delay of pharmaceutical products, even some products can take more than three years for approval,” he said.

Among the recommendations of the IBF is implementing a premium charge to expedite the process of registration, which will help in clearing the backlogs for FDA approvals.

Roy added that those products that are approved and registered in markets such as the United States and the European Union should be able to get their FDA approval in the Philippines within six months.

“Some of the products that are already registered in the US or European Union, that means that product has gone through a very stringent regulating approval, so these kinds of products should be approved in a fast rate basis,” he said.

He also said that for the Philippines to have access to cheaper medicines, Indian pharmaceutical firms urged the government to allow them to participate in biddings of the Department of Health.

“Indian companies cannot participate in Department of Health biddings. It’s because the local laws do not allow Indian pharma companies to do it. Because of this, we are paying for almost huge commissions to local partners as they represent Indian pharma companies. Hence, our products become more expensive, but on the contrary, they should be extremely affordable,” said Roy.

He added that this recommendation should be a high priority in the trade discussions between the Philippines and India. (PNA)