January 03, 2011
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has changed its position in wanting the Philippines to be placed back on the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) priority watch list of IP violators.
The Washington-based group noted that "… the Philippine Government has made notable strides in engaging with the research-based pharmaceutical industry on critical intellectual property and market access issues…” It stated that “As a result, PhRMA is reviewing its 2010... position that the Philippines be identified on the Priority Watch List... We do not recommend any change in status for the Philippines from that accorded by the United States Trade Representative in 2010, which placed the Philippines on the Watch List under the most recent Special 301 Review."
According to its website, PhRMA’s members are: Abbott, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp., and Pfizer, Inc.
The group said that it will continue working with the government to address "outstanding concerns" particularly with provisions of Republic Act No. 9502, or the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, which the group claims to "limit the patentability of new forms and uses of medicines."
PhRMA also opposed a provision in the law which allows non-prescription products to be sold without their original containers in retail outlets, saying this could be abused by counterfeiters and thus affect public safety. It also took issue with the Maximum Drug Retail Price Mechanism which was authorized by the law, claiming that it "has recently impacted [sic] a number of PhRMA member companies’ access to the Philippine market."
Source: Business World Online, Jan. 3, 2011, as reported by Jessica Anne D. Hermosa