In recent decades, Filipinos are living longer and leading healthier and more productive lives. These milestones in health are due in part to the commitment of members of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), an association composed of trusted providers of quality and life-saving medicines in the country today, to enable Filipinos to live longer, healthier and become more productive members of society.
PHAP was first established on July 3, 1946 as the Philippine Wholesale Druggists’ Association. The Association was founded by 10 men, each representing a leading pharmaceutical wholesaler, at a time when the country was recovering from the ravages of World War II.
On July 27, 1950, the organization was renamed the Drug Association of the Philippines (DAP), by which it was to be known for the next 40 years. Membership in the non-stock, non-profit association was expanded to include pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Early in 1991, the organization’s name was changed to the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) to signify a wider representation of participants in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector.
Today, PHAP and its member companies represent the research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, a key sector in the never-ending fight for improved health through the continuous development of new, better, more efficacious and cost-effective drug therapies.
PHAP is also proud to have as its members generic pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical distribution companies, medical device manufacturers, health research companies, over-the-counter pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, and pharmaceutical retailers.
The long, risky and expensive pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) efforts have yielded countless medicines that continue to help save and improve the quality of lives of Filipino patients and their families. Several conditions that were once fatal now have cures. Significant progress is evident in the treatment and prevention of non-communicable diseases prevalent among Filipinos such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases among several others.
Pharmaceutical innovation is also being pioneered for diseases such as dengue, malaria and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. These innovations have brought hope for patients and their families; helped cut healthcare costs by replacing expensive medical procedures while at the same time stimulating the economy with a healthier and more productive workforce.
For many years, vaccines have also helped protect millions of children and families from devastating illnesses. Countless lives have been saved partly due to the development of vaccines. A public health triumph, vaccines have contributed to the eradication and control of diseases. In 1796, the first vaccine developed was for smallpox while a rabies vaccine came in 1885.
Apart from the eradication of smallpox, vaccines have also helped in the prevention of measles, rubella and polio. They have likewise enabled children and the elderly fight bacterial meningitis, hepatitis A and B, pneumonia and some forms of cancer.
Many new vaccines have been developed and made available in the recent years owing to the combination of deeper knowledge of the molecular underpinnings of diseases and technological advances. An industry report disclosed that there are about 300 vaccines currently in development focusing on infectious diseases, various forms of cancer, and neurological diseases among others.
Significant progress has been made for the last decades but the work is far from over. PHAP members continue to commit to the research and development of medicines, vaccines and biopharmaceutical products that would help the Filipino people better confront existing and emerging health threats, some may be of pandemic proportions.
Every step of the way, PHAP ensures that its members conduct itself according to the highest ethical standards from the R&D stage to the marketing of pharmaceutical products. PHAP is the first pharmaceutical organization in the country that has adopted the Code of Practice that is aligned with international codes like the Geneva-based International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manuafacturers and Associations (IFPMA) Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices and the Mexico City Principles for Voluntary Codes of Ethics in the Biopharmaceutical Sector.
PHAP also pioneered the Medical Representatives Accreditation Program (MRAP) to equip thousands of its workforce in the field to professionally and ethically cascade relevant medical information to healthcare professionals. Building on the Government and private sector’s campaign on good governance, the new training and development tool that replaced MRAP is the Integrity and Proficiency Program for the Pharmaceutical Sector (IPPS) which aims to promote the principles of integrity, transparency, independence, accountability and above all, patient focus.The PHAPCares Foundation
PHAP is committed to working in partnership with both the public and the private sectors to improve access to quality healthcare for all Filipinos.
In 2003, PHAP established the PHAPCares Foundation to serve as its social responsibility arm to help improve the health and lives of Filipinos disadvantaged by sickness, poverty and disasters.
Since its founding, the PHAPCares Foundation has been in the forefront of efforts to make a difference in the lives of the Filipinos through various medicine access initiatives, health information and education campaigns, and humanitarian missions in geographic areas affected by conflicts, health outbreaks and calamities.
The PHAPCares Foundation signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Office of Civil Defense-National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council that will provide the government P50 million worth of life-saving medicines for use during disasters and emergencies.
Also on the same year, the PHAPCares Foundation embarked on another meaningful and sustainable undertaking that aims to transform poor and remote communities to model universal healthcare areas in the country. Being true to its mission of “reaching out, giving hope and touching lives,” the PHAPCares Foundation officially adopted a municipality in the far-flung, poverty-stricken and conflict-torn province of Tawi-Tawi in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao.
In a MOA, the PHAPCares Foundation initially pledged to construct a 24x7 community clinic and pharmacy in Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi to benefit its more than 30,000 residents.
Meanwhile, PHAP members donated about P110 million worth of life-saving medicines and vaccines for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
While several significant milestones have been achieved in the past, health concerns continue to challenge the government and its people. The Philippines is yet to achieve its Millennium Development Goals, four of which are health related. Moreover, quality healthcare remains elusive for majority of the poor. These are the reasons that PHAP is actively advocating and supporting the Aquino administration’s Universal Healthcare Agenda, which is a sectoral reform approach that embodies the national aspiration that all Filipinos would have access to the highest quality of health care possible regardless of one’s status in life.
From its post-war beginnings, the country’s pharmaceutical industry, as represented by PHAP, has evolved into one with an important role in the lives of individual Filipino patients and their families, the society and in the economy.
The growth of the PHAP in the past decades has reflected the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the Philippines, a sector which is a key pillar in the provision of quality healthcare for Filipinos.