A major government-owned pharmaceutical manufacturer has announced plans to produce more than 200 million doses of the powerful drug Vioxx, as part of a push to expand its portfolio of specialty medicines.
The move follows the Philippines’ move to lower import duties on VioXX to bring it in line with pharmaceuticals that are made at the country’s manufacturing facilities.
The move by Pampanga Pharmaceuticals Co., which makes VioX, is the latest in a string of moves to push the company’s specialty products to the market in the Philippines.
The government has been looking to increase its output of specialty drugs, including Viox, since it decided to scrap import duties for pharmaceuticals in June.
“It’s a very difficult time for the pharmaceutical industry, for our industry and for the Philippine economy, and so we are going to push hard to find new markets to grow our business,” said Pampangans CEO Edson Loy.
The Philippines’ drug supply is ailing and a growing number of companies are turning to China and India to sell their drugs, which account for roughly 90 percent of global sales.
China has become a key market for the Philippines as the country is rapidly emerging as a leader in the global opioid market.
The Philippines has become one of the top exporters of opioid drugs, accounting for about 70 percent of total global supply.
The government-controlled pharmaceutical maker said it is looking for new markets for its specialty medicines to make up for its limited supply, which is only 5 percent of its total supply.
It said it plans to spend an estimated P6 billion to buy up to 200 million Vio XX pills, the maximum number that it can order.
Pampanga will produce VioIX in its manufacturing plant in Manila, according to a statement.
The pharmaceutical company said it will begin distributing the medicine to its pharmacy partners in the country, the Philippine Drug Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies.
The Philippine government has already started selling VioXXX at retail outlets, and it has also started selling the medicine on the internet, according the statement.