Gov’t, academe, medical and research community, biopharma industry eye PH as center of clinical trials in ASEAN

Gov’t, academe, medical and research community, biopharma industry eye PH as center of clinical trials in ASEAN

/ 12:23 PM October 19, 2023

Multi-stakeholder groups from the government, academe, medical and research community, private sector, and patient organizations gathered in a forum to jumpstart discussions aimed at transforming the Philippines as a major hub for clinical trials in the ASEAN region.


The University of the Philippines – National Institutes for Health (UP-NIH), the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research (DOST-PCHRD), Department of Trade – Board of Investments (DTI-BOI), and the Philippine Clinical Research Professionals (PCRP) spearheaded an experts panel forum with theme “Philippines as Center of Excellence in Clinical Trials: Let’s Make it Happen” at the UP BGC Auditorium.

“Achieving the goal of making the Philippines the center of excellence in clinical trials in the region will entail bringing together all relevant stakeholders, starting with a shared understanding of its health and economic value and clarifying each stakeholder’s roles in achieving this. We are pleased to be holding this forum to demonstrate our commitment to making this transformation happen,” said UP-NIH Executive Director Dr. Eva Maria Cutiongco-Dela Paz.

The effort to propel the Philippines as a center of excellence in clinical trials is aligned with one of the goals of the Department of Health – Philippine Medicines Policy (PMP)  which seeks to “build and design the clinical trial system to elevate the country as a Regional Center of Excellence”.

“Clinical trials are a significant part of pharmaceutical research and development that offers options for patients to receive innovative treatments, opportunities for healthcare professionals to increase knowledge and experience in cutting-edge research happening globally, and for the Philippine society to take part in advancing science and health through research. We fully support this vision to make the Philippines a center for clinical trials to advance science and healthcare in the country and the region,” said UP-NIH National Clinical Trials and Translation Center Director Dr. Benjamin P. Sablan, Jr.

The research and development of medicines and vaccines is a long, risky, and complex process that requires significant investments and expertise. On average, researchers are able to identify one promising drug from among 5,000–10,000 screened compounds. Researchers then extensively test the compound to ensure its efficacy and safety, a process that can take 10 to 15 years. The majority of this R&D process – in terms of investments, duration, and expertise needed – happens during the clinical trial process.

“Clinical trials offer a faster pathway for the Philippines to lead and be the center of excellence in the region. We can lead the ASEAN region in the advancement of medicine and biopharmaceutical research and development, which as we have seen is crucial in confronting public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are honored to collaborate with our partners from the government, academe and patient organizations for us to achieve this vision for people’s health and support our country’s scientific and economic progress,” said PHAP President Dr. Diana Edralin, whose organization represents the biopharmaceutical industry in the Philippines.

In her message, British Ambassador to the Philippines Ms. Laure Beaufils expressed support for the country’s aspiration to be a center of excellence in clinical trials to improve healthcare, boost research and create jobs.

“I reiterate the UK’s unwavering commitment to the Philippines to remain a reliable partner for Health and Science, especially as we build back better after the COVID pandemic. Our most notable achievement in this sector over the last four years has been building agile partnerships across the Philippines’ dynamic Health and Science landscape, anchored on a shared commitment to leave no one behind – walang iwanan. And we hope the years ahead allow us to build on even stronger foundations of our partnerships as a Force for Good,” she said.

The Philippines has been conducting clinical trials for many years.  In 2022, 82 clinical trials were started, and 57 have already begun as of mid-year 2023. Approximately 80% of these trials are industry-sponsored global clinical trials for new drug application and marketing authorization worldwide, and the Philippines participate in about 5% of all these global clinical trials.  South East Asian countries neighboring the Philippines, like Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, have retained a stable number of clinical trials, while Vietnam continues to grow year on year at +5.32% CAGR.

“A robust innovation ecosystem is important to discover and develop breakthroughs for cancer, tuberculosis, mental health, and diabetes among several health challenges. PHAP is committed to partnering with the government and the healthcare community in building this environment in the country by forwarding recommendations to position the Philippines as a center of excellence in clinical trials in the whole of ASEAN,” said PHAP Executive Director Mr. Teodoro Padilla.

Among the panel of experts who were part of the forum were Healthserv Los Banos Medical Center Adult Medicine Specialist Dr. Mercedes Dela Viña for the “Overview of the Conduct of Clinical Trials in the Philippines”; PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya for the topic “Clinical Research as Platform for Innovation and Access: What it Takes to be a Center of Excellence”; DOH Pharmaceutical Division Chief Dr. Fides Maria Aileen Buenafe for “Innovation and Access”; IQVIA Clinical Operations and Partner Site Manager Ms Zohra Jane Esperal for “The Economic Footprint of Clinical Researches”; AstraZeneca Vice President, International Medical,    Dr. Pei Chieh Fong for the “Value of the Clinical Trial Data and Research Outcomes to Innovations in Treatment and Diagnostics”; and PCRP Past President and Honorary Member Ms Anna Ordinario for the “State of Clinical Trials in the Philippines”.

Also among the panel of reactors were Dr. Iris Tagaro of the Food and Drug Administration; PHAP President Edralin who is also the general manager of Roche Philippines; Dr. Nancy Bermal of Unilab; Dr. Corazon Ngelangel, Asian Hospital, Dr. Sonia Bongala, Philippine Health Research Ethics Board, Dr. Rosario Capeding, Tropical Disease Foundation, and Ms Marimel Lamsin of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations.  The session was moderated by Ms Melissa Bulao, PCHRD Supervising Science Research Specialist.


TAGS: ASEAN, BrandRoom

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.