PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. emphasized on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, the need for the country to boost its local drug manufacturing in a bid to secure a stockpile of medicine in preparation for any emergency.

“Let’s maximize the local production,” Marcos said during a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) healthcare sector group in Malacañang.

“The initial reason why this came up is the supply problems that we encountered during the (Covid-19 pandemic) lockdowns, so we need to be prepared. We should be able to produce the local supply of essential medicines,” he added.

Marcos ordered the Department of Health (DOH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to work with the private sector in identifying medicines that can be produced in the country.

He said the capacity of local pharmaceutical manufacturers should be maximized, particularly for the production of basic medicines for poor Filipino patients, such as anti-tuberculosis drugs.

For its part, the PSAC pursued the strengthening of the FDA by digitalizing its information systems (IS), including upgrading electronic certificates for product registration, in order to fulfill Marcos’ commitment to lower drug prices and improve the public’s access to medicines.

The FDA’s digitalization rate is currently at 72.5 percent, and it is expected to achieve full digitalization by August.

Once digitized, other systems, including new chemical entity renewal, certificate of listing of the identical drug product (CLIDP), and post-marketing surveillance, will follow, the advisory council said. (SunStar Philippines)