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The Philippine healthcare system is a dual health system composed of the public sector and the private sector. The public sector is largely financed through a tax-based budgeting system, where health services are delivered by government facilities run by the national and local governments.

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11th most attractive pharmaceutical market

11th most attractive pharmaceutical market in the Asia-Pacific region.

Source: BOI

3rd largest market in ASEAN

3rd largest pharmaceutical market in ASEAN, after Indonesia and Thailand.

Source: Bloomberg

14 of the top 20 companies in the world

Of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, over 14 have manufacturing facilities in the Philippines.

Source: Business World

The Philippine healthcare system is a dual health system composed of the public sector and the private sector. The public sector is largely financed through a tax-based budgeting system, where health services are delivered by government facilities run by the national and local governments. On the other hand, the private sector consists of for-profit and nonprofit health-care providers, is largely market-oriented where health care is generally paid for through user fees at the point of service. [15] In 2019, the Philippines Total Health Expenditure (THE) grew by 10.9%, reaching a total amount of approximately US$16.5 billion which comprises Current Health Expenditure 87.5) on hospitals, pharmacies and management, as well as Health Capital Formation Expenditure (12.5%). [16]

Belonging in the top 22% of the 240 sectors in the Philippines, it is no wonder that the pharmaceutical industry has become one of the fastest growing industries in the country and has steadily improved and increased annually. [17] Variety also plays a role in the pharmaceutical drugs selection in the Philippines. As pharmaceutical drugs are regulated in three segments: originator, branded generics and unbranded generics. A large chunk of the population of the Philippines buy pharmaceutical drugs that have lower costs; thus; many pharmaceutical corporations have leaned on producing both branded and unbranded generics for variety. [16]

While the pharmaceutical industry has flourished, there has been an influx in domestic and foreign pharmaceutical companies in the Philippines. Among these are Novartis’ generic arm Sandoz, Taiwan’s Orient Europharma (OEP) and Getz Pharma of Pakistan. Moreover,there are more than 500 drug traders, 700 drug importers, and 5,000 drug distributors in the Philippines. Several companies have significantly contributed to the Philippines’ growing pharmaceutical industry. Of these corporations, multinational companies have dominated the entire pharmaceutical market sales, accounting for more than half of the total sales value. However, local corporations have become big competitors for multinational companies, especially in the sales of branded generic drugs in the market. [16]

The medical device market in the Philippines is expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.8% growing to US$884.3 million by the end of 2024 as reported by Fitch Solutions. The market is almost totally dependent on imports of high-value, low-volume products such as electro-medical devices, imaging equipment, radiation equipment, dialysis devices, and linear accelerators. Almost 100% of medical equipment and approximately 50% of medical disposables are imported. Local production is limited to accessories, spare parts (including customized parts), and disposables such as surgical gloves, syringes, and needles. Based on the FDA database, there were 14,443 registered Medical Devices and IVDs in the Philippines at the end of 2020 [18].

Opportunities and

  • With the economic growth and large population; having a pharmaceutical market of 110 million, the Philippines has been determined to be one of the most attractive pharmaceutical markets in the ASEAN region. Filipino households spend most on pharmaceutical products, making up the largest share in healthcare expenditures.
  • On ASEAN Pharma Report: Opportunities and Threats 2020 and Beyond, the total expenditures for drugs and medicines is expected to have a steady growth of 4.5% in the following years. The local pharmaceutical market is expected to grow and reach ₱241.9 billion in 2025 following the implementation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme, which provides the basic level of healthcare to all Filipinos. The UHC and high acceleration rates in the Philippines’ generic market, allowed the Philippine Government to improve their efforts in improving the pharmaceutical markets. As follows, there has been optimistic growth forecasts indicating huge potential for the private sector.
  • The Philippines can access the US market as it is excluded in the US Trade Relations Watch List on counterfeit medicines.
  • Investments are sought in the manufacture of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) as raw materials are almost 98% imported. Only a few local materials are available in the country, i.e., herbal raw materials, sugar, and alcohol.
  • The Philippines has professed heavy protection for patents and trademarks under the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Creating a strong manufacturing base and government support; and having a steady increase of medical practitioners along with government and private hospitals.

Featured Companies

  • United Laboratories United Laboratories, Inc., widely known as UniLab, was founded in 1953 and is located in Mandaluyong, Manila, Philippines. This Filipino-owned pharmaceutical company develops, manufactures, and markets prescription, over-the-counter, and personal care pharmaceuticals products. The company's products include therapeutics for the treatment of common illnesses, such as coughs, colds, pain, allergies, and fevers, as well as diseases, such as hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, infection, tuberculosis, ulcer, anemia, and cancer. It has 4,300 employees [21].

  • Pascual Laboratories Pascual Laboratories, Inc., otherwise known as PascualLab, is a Filipino-founded enterprise and was established in 1946. The company manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products including generic and herbal medicines. It has 936 employees [22].

  • Pfizer Pfizer, Inc. is a research-based healthcare company with a legacy of pharmaceutical research, healthcare solutions, and public health development that spans over 50 years in the Philippines and over 150 years around the world. Pfizer Philippines Inc. was established in 1954 and its main office is located in Makati, Metro Manila. It is the second largest pharmaceutical company in the country. The company's products include prescription pharmaceuticals, non-prescription self-medications, and animal health products such as anti-infective medicines and vaccines [23].

  • GE Healthcare, Philippines GE Healthcare in the Philippines partners and supplies ministry departments, hospitals, healthcare, research and training facilities throughout the country—from Tuguegarao City in the north to General Santos City in the south, with the latest diagnostic imaging equipment and healthcare information systems like GE Discovery PET/CT 710 system and Vscan AccessTM ultrasound device. Their wide range of expertise include medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services. In 1935, GE Philippines, Inc. started to engage in a broad range of manufacturing, trading and service businesses locally. Located at Taguig City with over 1,100 local employees and a diverse range of products and services, GE remains strongly vested in the country’s priorities of economic and business development, as well as value and care for the environment and the Filipino people [24].


[15] Dayrit, M., Lagrada, L., Picazo, O., Pons, M., & Villaverde, M. (2018). The Philippines Health System (2nd ed., Vol. 8). World Health Organization.


[16] InCorp Philippines. (2022, March 22). Things to Know About the Philippine Pharmaceutical Industry.


[17] Bajpai, P. (2019, March 5). Philippines Pharma: All set for continuous growth. BioSpectrum Asia.


[18] Andaman Medical. (n.d.). Philippines Medical Device Target Market.


[19] Republic of the Philippines: Embassy of the Philippines: Amman, Jordan. (2018, August). The Philippine Pharmaceutical Industry. Republic of the Philippines.


[20] Republic of the Philippines: Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines. (n.d.). PHILIPPINE LAWS ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. Republic of the Philippines Gov.


[21] UNILAB. (n.d.). Our Company: Our Humble Beginnings.


[22] Lab, P. (n.d.). About Us. Pascual Lab.


[23] Pfizer. (n.d.). Who We Are | Pfizer Philippines Inc.


[24] GE Philippines. (2019, December 6). Philippines. GE in Asia Pacific.