The Department of Health (DOH) during the month of September celebrated the 33rd year of passing into law of the Generics Act of 1988 through a 2-day Virtual Generics Summit Webinar Series with the theme, “Paigtingin ang Suplay, Generics Gawing Abot Kamay,” on September 22 to 23.

Spearheaded by the Pharmaceutical Division, the observance of the Generics Awareness Month is aimed at increasing public  awareness on the global and local directions and efforts of both the government and private sectors to strengthen local capacity of the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture supply of generic medicines, particularly those that are critical to the ongoing COVID-19  pandemic and other future health emergencies. 

The national government recognized the challenges that the country experienced in sourcing  drugs, vaccines, and other essential supplies which affected the pandemic response as the country’s  pharmaceutical and medical device supply is largely import-dependent. With this, the webinar  series highlighted the activities, policies, and programs being implemented by relevant  government agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare providers, and consumer groups  to respond to the challenges and to strengthen the local capacity to manufacture quality, effective, and affordable health commodities to meet the current supply needs.

“As we commemorate the signing of the Generics Act, we advocate for the strengthening of  the local capacity for manufacturing supply of generics to contribute to the achievement of the  global goal of ensuring adequate, equitable, affordable, and efficient supply of health goods,  particularly those needed to respond to public health threats and emergencies.” said Health  Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)  applauded the DOH efforts, including the theme for the Generics Awareness Month celebration as these are in line with the goal of Universal Health Care, and pushing for measures that will provide access to affordable medicines especially for indigent Filipinos. 

The WHO supports the promotion of generic medicines as a vital strategy to address challenges  in affordability and accessibility of essential medicines and to improve medicine access.

“Essential medicines can save lives, reduce suffering, and improve health. But in order to do so, they must be available and affordable, of good quality, and be used properly. The promotion of  generic medicines has been an important strategy to improve medicine access.” said Dr.  Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO Country Representative to the Philippines.

“With the cooperation of all sectors concerned, our generics industry will be able to contribute  significantly to the health and recovery needs, especially of the marginalized sectors. By working on our capacity to locally produce drugs including vaccines, we can create a resilient  and pandemic-proof health system.” Said Secretary Ramon Lopez of the DTI. 

The DOH enjoined the continuous collaboration and support of relevant government agencies,  private sector partners, and the Filipino consumers to promote the use of generic medicines, to  strengthen local capacity to meet health needs, and to find ways to adapt to the situation and  move forward to the better normal. 

The Generics Awareness Month is observed annually every month of September. To strengthen  and bring the campaign closer to all the stakeholders during this new normal set up brought  about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOH organized the virtual summit and maximized the  use of online platforms to disseminate advocacy materials to improve awareness of the general  public on generic medicines.