Foreign chambers clamor for repeal of medicine price cap

Published by rudy Date posted on July 4, 2009

FOREIGN businessmen have called on the Philippine government to reconsider the imposition of a maximum retail price (MRP) on medicines under Republic Act 9502, or the Act Providing for Cheaper and Quality Medicines.

In a letter to President Gloria Arroyo dated June 23, 2009, the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines said the government need not impose an MRP for medicines to lower the prices of these goods in the country.

“We believe that imposing an MRP may no longer be needed to achieve the goal of lowering prices of medicines in the Philippines. Market forces have already achieved a significant reduction in medicine prices,” the group said.

“There is also a growing proliferation of cheaper generic alternatives in the market, and selected companies have voluntarily reduced prices, either through patient care programs or outright price reductions. Thus, even prior to the enactment of R.A. 9502, market competition is healthy and moving towards lower-priced generics,” the group said.

“More importantly, the use of price controls in any industry can become counterproductive, discourage existing and future investors in all industries, and potentially lead to price controls over other industries and products which will no doubt send the wrong signals to potential investors outside the Philippines,” it added.

The Joint Foreign Chambers said revenues of local pharmaceutical firms recently posted double-digit growth, while those of multinational companies were growing at single digit rates.

The letter was signed by Austen Chamberlain, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. president; Richard Barclay, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. president; Richard Mills, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. president; Hubert D’Aboville, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. president; Yasu­hiko Arimitsu, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc. president; Eun Gap Chang, Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. president; and Shameem Qurashi, Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc. president. –Ben Arnold O. de Vera, Reporter, Manila Times

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