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House committee OKs measure on innovative medicines

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The House of Representatives Committee on Health has approved House Bill 9867, authored by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, that aims to accelerate the formulation and development of innovative medicines.

Batanes Rep. Ciriaco Gato Jr., the panel’s chairperson, cited the need to look closely into the present regulation and clinical trial activities if a more affordable and wider array of medicines were to be developed.

“There is a clamor to improve our access to innovative medicines by assessing and redesigning the present clinical trial system and possibly by establishing a center which shall serve as a pharmaceutical hub for medical research and development,” said Gato, a co-author of the bill.

In the explanatory note of HB 9867, otherwise known as the Pharmaceutical Innovation Act, Romualdez said the passage of Republic Act 11223, or the Universal Health Care Act, made it the government’s policy to adopt a healthcare model that provides every Filipino with cost-effective, quality, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services.

“In line with this policy, the conduct of clinical trials has been recognized as a scientific and research-based approach that helps medical researchers and developers optimize benefits, reduce risks and ensure the safety and efficacy of innovative medicines,” Romualdez said.

He lamented recent data showing a steep decline beginning 2014 in the number of new clinical trials conducted in the Philippines.

The decline not only widened the gap between the country and other leading countries, but more importantly contributed to the inaccessibility of innovative medicines to Filipinos, with only one of the 166 innovative medicines launched internationally being added into the Philippine National Formulary, he added.

“As such, there is a need to revitalize the Philippines as a regional center of excellence in the field of clinical trials and improve access to innovative medicines by building and redesigning our clinical trial system, through the establishment of an Experimental Drug Development and Discovery Center,” he said.

House Deputy Majority Leader Jude Acidre of the party-list group Tingog, also a co-author of HB 9867 said the measure would also position the Philippines to be a global leader in research, which will have far reaching implications on the country’s health-care system, economy and international standing.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “House panel OKs pharmaceutical innovation bill.”


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