DTI proposes pooled procurement of medicines
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has proposed to implement pooled procurement for certain medicines with high demand in order to bring down prices and have a basis for setting price caps.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters the Philippines could follow the example of Hong Kong where a body or group pools medicine purchases by estimating the entire market’s demand for a certain drug.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) could come up with the estimated volume needed by the country for a particular medicine, while a group from the private sector could consolidate the procurement at a lower price, Lopez said.
He said there has been an instance when two different private sector groups purchased the same medicine but one bought it nearly three times higher than the other group that ordered a bigger volume.
Lopez said volume procurement could be undertaken for medicines with high demand in the country. He said the funds to be used for the volume procurement could come from the eventual seller.
Apart from being able to get medicines at a lower price, he said volume procurement also allows government to have a basis in setting price caps.
“This (proposal) has not been adopted, but I told Sec. Duque (and) they are willing to look into it. They are open if this will help so we will have sustainable MDRP (maximum drug retail price),” he said.
The DOH has proposed an executive order (EO) which sets the MDRP for at least 120 drugs and medicines to allow greater access.
As the EO is still being studied by the Office of the President, Lopez said he is hopeful the DTI’s proposal may still be included in that order.
There have been cases when products covered by price controls are removed from the market as a company’s way to go around the price caps.
“In the end, my worry there is the uncertainty in supply,” Lopez said.
He said other countries could offer medicines at lower prices because of volume procurement and subsidies.