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Article

Prices, Availability and Affordability of Medicines with Value-Added Tax Exemption: A Cross-Sectional Survey in the Philippines

by 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4,5, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4 and 1,2,3,4,*
1
Department of Pharmacy Administration and Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China
2
Center for Drug Safety and Policy Research, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China
3
Shaanxi Centre for Health Reform and Development Research, Xi’an 710061, China
4
Research Institute for Drug Safety and Monitoring, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, China’s Western Technology Innovation Harbor, Xi’an 710061, China
5
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore 54000, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 5242; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17145242
Received: 1 June 2020 / Revised: 6 July 2020 / Accepted: 7 July 2020 / Published: 21 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice Research)
Background: Developing countries, such as the Philippines, started implementing policies to improve access to medicines, which is a vital step toward universal healthcare coverage. This study aimed to evaluate the prices, availability and affordability of prescribed medicines for diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension with the exemption of 12% value-added tax in the Philippines. Methods: The prices and availability of 50 medicines were collected in August 2019 from 36 public and 42 private medicine outlets in six regions of the Philippines, following a modified methodology developed by the World Health Organization and Health Action International. Availability is reported as the percentage of outlets in which the surveyed medicine was found at the time of visit. Medicine prices are expressed as median unit prices (MUPs) in Philippine Peso. Affordability is calculated based on the number of days’ wages required for the lowest-paid unskilled government worker to purchase a monthly treatment. Results: The mean availability of surveyed medicines was low in both public and private sectors, with 1.3% for originator brands (OBs) and 25.0% for lowest-priced generics (LPGs) in public outlets, and 34.7% and 35.4% in private outlets, respectively. The MUP of medicines were higher in private outlets, and OBs have higher unit price compared to the generic equivalents. Treatments with OBs were unaffordable, except for gliclazide, but the affordability of most LPGs is generally good. Conclusion: Access to medicines in both sectors was affected by low availability. High prices of OBs influenced the affordability of medicines even with tax exemption. A review of policies and regulations should be initiated for a better access to medicines in the Philippines. View Full-Text
Keywords: drugs; generic; private sector; costs and cost analysis; health services accessibility; World Health Organization; taxes; Philippines drugs; generic; private sector; costs and cost analysis; health services accessibility; World Health Organization; taxes; Philippines
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lambojon, K.; Chang, J.; Saeed, A.; Hayat, K.; Li, P.; Jiang, M.; Atif, N.; Desalegn, G.K.; Khan, F.U.; Fang, Y. Prices, Availability and Affordability of Medicines with Value-Added Tax Exemption: A Cross-Sectional Survey in the Philippines. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5242. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17145242

AMA Style

Lambojon K, Chang J, Saeed A, Hayat K, Li P, Jiang M, Atif N, Desalegn GK, Khan FU, Fang Y. Prices, Availability and Affordability of Medicines with Value-Added Tax Exemption: A Cross-Sectional Survey in the Philippines. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(14):5242. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17145242

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lambojon, Krizzia, Jie Chang, Amna Saeed, Khezar Hayat, Pengchao Li, Minghuan Jiang, Naveel Atif, Gebrehaweria K. Desalegn, Faiz U. Khan, and Yu Fang. 2020. "Prices, Availability and Affordability of Medicines with Value-Added Tax Exemption: A Cross-Sectional Survey in the Philippines" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 14: 5242. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17145242

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