UNILAB supports Governments campaign to make medicine accessible to the poor
The market price of medicines in the Philippines is among the highest in the world—40%–70% more than in neighbouring countries, according to the Philippine Department of Health. Some drugs cost 10 times more in the Philippines than in neighbouring countries.
In business since 1945, United Laboratories, Inc., (UniLab) is the oldest pharmaceutical company in the Philippines and still one of the largest. Seizing an opportunity to support the government’s campaign to make lower price drugs available, UniLab set up RiteMed in 2002, a subsidiary with the mission of marketing and distributing quality, generic medicines to the poor. The company sells generic products for 20%–75% less than their branded counterparts cost, meeting revenue targets of $20 million within five years—profitably. The case explores the social, legal and strategic tensions that accompanied the initiative and solutions that address them.