Fresh infusion to Philippine health industry as Aspen, a multinational pharmaceutical company opens local subsidiary

by Geraldine Rullan_Borromeo
(Manila, Philippines)

Published in the Daily Tribune Life
May 6, 2012

Filipinos have long had to live with the social incongruity that quality medicines are not affordable medicines. Multinational pharmaceuticals have long lorded it over the health industry that Filipinos who chose quality medicines were obliged to fork over emergency savings to afford them.

The advent of generic medicines brought some relief to the hard-pressed public, but in particular cases where one feels that the illness calls for a branded medicine, the expense bore heavily on one’s budget.

Recently, Aspen Philippines, a local subsidiary of Aspen Pharmacare, opened at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. Aspen Pharmacare is a global pharmaceutical company that manufactures branded and generic medicines in cardiology, metabolism, neurology, dermatology and oncology.

It has 18 manufacturing facilities in 13 sites on five continents with more than 800 products that are available in
100 countries. Aspen’s strategic alliances with other pharmaceutical companies, particularly with Merck, GSK, Eli Lilly, Vifor, Abbott, Flen Pharma, Sanofi-Aventis, Actavis and Teva, allows it to market quality and affordable innovator brands of antibiotic, antihypertension, anti-gout, anti-platelet and anti-hypothyroidism medicines in the Philippines.

In addition, Aspen offers a range of generic medicines for said ailments. It claims that it is one of the leading generics companies worldwide as it is Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer and supplier to both the private and public sectors in South Africa.

With 18 manufacturing facilities at 13 manufacturing sites in six continents, Aspen’s generic medicine pipeline promises to deliver quality and affordable medicines backed up by its own research facilities and in collaboration with other global pharmaceutical brands.

Aspen is also the one of the largest manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and complementary medicines in Australia, providing manufacturing and technical services for leading multinational pharmaceutical companies. Its manufacturing facilities are fully licensed with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), offering the full range of pharmaceutical production and support services for liquids (syrups and suspension), creams and ointments; solid dose (tables and capsules); and packaging.

Aspen Pharmacare Australia also markets off-patent medicines or specialist medicines with a low volume of demand. “Some of these‘overlooked’ medicines are still effective and have modes of action not matched by newer products; they are also cost effective for governments and consumers. Doctors, who are preoccupied with their heavy daily workload, often need just a simple reminder about the existence of such medicines.

That’s where we come in,” said Greg Lan, chief executive officer(CEO), Aspen Pharmacare Australia. He added, “We are privileged to support efforts of the Philippine government and other stakeholders in improving Filipino patients’ access to quality, effective and safe medicines that are within the means of the general public.”

At the helm of Aspen Philippines is Ace Itchon, who, after acquiring a Bachelor of Science in Preparatory Medicine, went on to manage a project for Besins Healthcare (Bangkok). She then became the director of Brands Operations for Invida(Philippines). As regional head for the Asia Pacific for Invida (Singapore), she garnered recognition for operational excellence. She then moved on to
become the Sales Force and Marketing Effectiveness director and head of Pharmalink Academy of PL Asia Pacific.

Before she joined Aspen Philippines, she was the Business Unit head for Zuellig Pharma (Philippines), then was promoted to sales and marketing manager, national sales manager and product manager.

Stephen Saad, Aspen Group chief executive, says, “We take great pride in formally opening our office in the Philippines. This business initiative forms part of Aspen’s stated global expansion strategy into emerging and established markets, and we look forward to working closely with the Philippine government and local regulatory bodies in providing quality products to meet the healthcare needs
of the Filipino people.”

“Our product portfolio includes some of the most prescribed brands in Australia, South Africa, Middle East, North America, Germany and Canada. We want to bring to Asia affordable prescriptions with the Aspen stamp of quality,” adds Ziman, deputy CEO, Aspen Pharmacare Australia. “It is a thrill to change someone’s life through our medicines — this is the passion that drives us,” Ziman continues.

“Aspen products are renowned for their efficacy, quality and affordability. We look forward to working with Filipino healthcare professionals in improving access to Aspen’s medicines,” also adds Keith Kai Cheung Iu, director for Asian Markets, Aspen Asia Co. Ltd.

“As a trusted pharmaceutical company, Aspen is committed to
positively impacting people’s lives by providing Filipino healthcare providers and consumers with effective and safe medicines that are within the means of the ordinary Filipino,” Itchon ends.

For more information, contact Dr. Fernando de Castro, FPPS, Medical Director, Aspen Philippines Inc., Units 1001-1002 Trade and Financial Tower, 7th Avenue corner 32nd Street,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
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