AGAP Issue Briefing No. 1 – Traditional Medicines

Posted on July 11, 2006. Filed under: Resources |


In the first Convenor’s Meeting, Raul Segovia of Citizen’s Action for Consumer Power (CACP) raised the issue of traditional medicine as one of the ways by which the poor can cope with the high prices of medicines. He asked whether there is a government agency dealing with this issue. It was found out that there is such an agency, the Philippine Institute for Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC), a government corporation with developmental functions attached to the Department of Health. created by Republic Act 8423.

Edwin Santiago of Generics Association of the Philippines (GAP) later raised whether it is possible to relax the rules of BFAD on therapeutic claims such that generic companies will not find it difficult to enter this product line on traditional medicines.

Current Policy Environment

In the discussion that followed, it was mentioned that the PITAHC has already come up with the means within its mandated powers under RA 8423 to deal with traditional medicines and this is through its implementing rules where it can come up with a sui generis mechanism to recognize the traditional knowledge of indigenous communities (described as indigenous societies under the law) on traditional medicine. What is meant by sui generis is a set of rules uniquely applicable to the particular situation of traditional medicine which cannot be applied to other types of medicine.

Given this situation, it might be possible to come up with a unique set of rules that only applies particularly to the case of traditional medicines and come up with another set of rules and categories that only applies to the case of traditional medicines such that they need not comply with the usual requirements on therapeutic claims as required by the BFAD. In this way, Edwin Santiago’s proposal on coming up with relaxed rules on therapeutic claims for traditional medicines can be met.

AGAP Action Proposal

The PITAHC Board can come up with a Resolution detailing the sui generic mechanisms by which traditional medicines will be recognized, including the benefit-sharing aspects of it. Thereafter the BFAD will come up with an Administrative Order creating a separate set of rules which may or may not contain requirements to comply with therapeutic claims on products relating to traditional medicines.


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