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Philippines slashes drug prices


The pharmaceutical industry has reacted badly to news that Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered a 50% price cut on 27 essential medicines.

The move is popular among residents of the islands and comes after pharmaceutical manufacturers led by Pfizer ignored a government appeal to do so voluntarily.

It is hoped that the country’s poor will now have greater access to anti-hypertension and anti-cholesterol drugs, as well as antibiotics.

But Pfizer said in a statement it was disappointed, arguing that many drug firms, including itself, had offered to slash prices by up to half on 22 other drugs but not the 20-plus essential medicines recommended by the country’s Department of Health.

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, which includes Pfizer, said it believed a reduction could have been achieved through free-market competition, adding: “Price control may deliver short-term benefits but the long-term negative consequences not only on the pharmaceutical industry but on other industries must be considered.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines

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