Thai pharmaceutical industry focuses on manufacturing generic drugs and competitive pricing, while developed countries target drug research and development to compete for innovation competition in the global market. This has raised a particular question on a concrete and consistent policy measure to promote the technological potential of the pharmaceutical production industry in the country and to increase access to medicines. This study had four objectives:
The research team used mixed methods to assess the impact. The findings were summarized as follows.
1. The result of Thai pharmaceutical production industry situation analysis revealed that the trend of pharmaceutical manufacturing and import value continuously increased. In 1995, the proportion of drug production in the country was greater than that of imports, accounted for 65:35. Until 2015, the proportion had completely reversed to 35:65, reflecting a declining trend in drug security over the past two decades. When considering the potential of drug manufacturers and importers, they could be divided into 4 groups: 1) The Lion group including companies with high research and development potential, and the highest sale values; 2) The Panda group including importers that primarily import brand name drugs or generic drugs; 3) The Koala group including manufacturers producing less than 50% of new generic drugs, but the sale values were mainly counted on generic drugs and 4) The Raccoon group which mainly imports new generic drugs, but mostly the sale values were not very high.
2. The incoherence in pharmaceutical industry development policies, import and the production technology transfer, investment support, and related laws were found to affect the readiness for the development of the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, the research team proposed the policy sets for the development of the pharmaceutical production industry in the country. The policy sets were divided into two parts: a policy set to enhance technology complexity potential and a policy set to expand the market scale. The aim of these policy sets was to push the pharmaceutical production industry in the country to become a main industry that generates income for the country. The policy formulation was linked throughout the supply chain. This leaded to pharmaceutical technology innovations, pharmaceutical production, and drug security.
3. The average cost to research, develop, and register one successful biopharmaceutical product such as monoclonal antibodies was estimated to be in a range of 705-890 million baht, with clinical trials being the most expensive part i.e. 360-420 million baht. On average, it takes up to 8-10 years for a new biopharmaceutical product to reach the marketplace. The estimated annual sales value of biosimilar drugs, Pertuzumab and Pembrolizumab, was approximately 86-1,400 million baht, with a payback period ranging from 1 - 14 years depending on market share, incidence, prevalence, and support from the government.
4. An assessment of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement of Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Patent linkage, Government procurement, and State-owned enterprise chapters using the system dynamic modeling showed that joining CPTPP agreement would cost Thailand approximately 400 billion baht more in drug expenses compared to the non-participating situation. Thailand would have to rely on drug imports up to 89%, compared with 76% in the absence of the agreement. The market value of the pharmaceutical industry in the country would be lost approximately for 100 billion baht, compared to the non-participating situation.
5. The impact of the alternative policy proposals on the development of the pharmaceutical industry to leverage the technology for research and development of products, to increase the value of the pharmaceutical industry, and to make the pharmaceutical industry the main industry that generates income for the country was evaluated by using a system dynamics model. The result showed that the simulated situations of the biopharmaceutical and chemical drugs during 2019 - 2047 could be divided into 2 situations: (1) the situation where business as usual, BAU i.e. the country continues to promote the pharmaceutical industry in the country in the form and the level of action already taken; and (2) the situation where the policy proposals were being implemented to systematically develop and promote the pharmaceutical industry in the country. The latter situation
suggested that if the implementation meets the goal of the proposal, it will be a cornerstone of health system stability. Also, the pharmaceutical production industry in the country will be an industry that can generate income for the country from the added value of the business expansion, and the exports of the pharmaceutical products manufactured in the country in a total of 708,106 million baht, accounting for 2% of GDP in 2047.