The Philippine pharmaceutical market is valued at US$2.51 Billion (Php111.60 Billion) in 2008, and forecasted to reach US$3.91 Billion by 2013. In terms of the overall market this is comparable to Pakistan and Thailand, and in terms of per capita, it is similar to China and Iran. The Philippines is continuously ranked as the 11th most attractive pharmaceutical market in the Asia-Pacific region, and the third biggest market in ASEAN after Indonesia and Thailand.

The local market includes all products classified as drug or non-drug. Drugs are either ethical (prescription) or over-the-counter (OTC) products used for medication or in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of diseases in human beings, while non-drug items include nutritionals (health food), infant milk preparations, baby care, cosmetics, diagnostic and other medical devices.

The bulk of the sales in the Philippines is from ethical or prescription drugs, which represents about 70% of the total sales. Over-the-counter (OTC) products account for about 24%, while nutritionals occupy the remaining share of the pie. About 85% of products are sold through drug stores and 15% are distributed to end-users in hospitals and doctors' clinics.

Fourteen (14) of the Top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world have manufacturing facilities in the Philippines. The share of local manufacturers in the drug market is seen to rise to 38% and will likely continue to expand through 2010 and beyond. Multinational drug companies are expected to grow by 4% in 2009.

Pharmaceutical patents and trademarks are well-secured in the country. The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines provides harsh penalties for infringement of patent and trademark rights.

The recently approved Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, while it will result in lower prices, will increase consumption as more people will be able to afford the needed pharmaceuticals for their health and wellness.

Market Opportunity Increase in demand/consumption
  • There is an apparent big demand for medicinal and pharmaceutical products in the Philippines with importation increasing at an annual average rate of 11.34% from 2005-2010.
  • With Philippine population projected to increase to 94.01 million by the end of 2010 from 88.57 million in August 2007, increase in demand for pharmaceutical products is more likely to happen.
  • Also, with the expiration of a number of patents in 2009, as well as those that had lapsed over the past 2-3 years, local manufacturers will have the opportunity to start introducing generic versions of patented drugs. This would not only reduce the cost of medicine but would also expand the domestic market.
  • Total family expenditures for drugs and medicine increased to Php 39.04 Billion in 2009 from Php 33.323 Billion in 2006 or by 17% over a 3-year period. - About 45% of the total expenditures in 2009 were spent by families living in the National Capital Region and its nearby cities/municipalities of Regions III and IV.
  • From 1998-2005, there is a steady increase in the number of hospitals, both private and government, from 1,172 to 1,755, or an increase of about 50% over a period of 7 years.
  • From 2001-2006, there is also an increase in the number of medical practitioners, specifically medical doctors, from 44,238 to 45,555, or an increase of about 3% over a period of 5 years.