An export guide on health products in the Philippines

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The pharmaceutical industry is growing steadily in the Philippines and is expected to become a PH₱216 billion industry by 2024, reports the Department of Trade and Industry. At the same time, the industry has seen a steady growth of 11% per annum, making it an attractive market for pharmaceutical firms to invest in. 

This guide is for business owners who want to ship medicines and health supplements overseas. It will provide you with a thorough understanding of the Philippines’ pharmaceutical products export market, the types of drugs permitted, countries that you can ship to, as well as all of the associated rules and regulations for shipping medication and its derivatives internationally.

The Philippines’ Medicine Export Market 

According to Statista, the Philippines' medicine export market is valued at approximately US$48.3 million in 2020, with US$36 million of this amount being accounted for medicines used for therapeutic or prophylactic uses. The Philippines Board of Investment (BOI) is still working on new initiatives to support the roadmap that will enable the country to increase its pharmaceutical exports and empower and strengthen the local industry.

These measures include providing support to local suppliers who are in the business of shipping prescription medication internationally, as well as supporting the development of herbal medicines. The BOI is also investing in the research and development of using nature-based medicinal ingredients, such as Lagundi and Sambong, to create herbal drugs for international exports. Efforts are being taken to establish a business model and strategy that facilitates the development of the Philippines’ herbal medicine industry. With these measures, the Philippines is now a manufacturing hub for pharmaceuticals, thus providing growth opportunities for local businesses.

Shipping pharmaceutical drugs from the Philippines

Sending prescription medication overseas from the Philippines requires the partnership with a reliable shipping carrier that specializes in safely and securely shipping pharmaceutical products. For the export of pharmaceutical products to be done safely, a high level of expertise is needed. The integrity and quality of a pharmaceutical product must be preserved from the factory to the point of delivery. Both the shipping and pharmaceutical industries are subject to stringent regulations, which is why it is important that businesses are aware of what is permitted or prohibited.

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The most commonly shipped products from the Philippines include the following:

  • Maintenance medication

  • Vitamins

  • Over-the-counter drugs such as Paracetamol, Neozep, Cetirizine, etc. 

Top countries that the Philippines ships medication to

The Philippines’ pharmaceutical companies export supplements and medication globally, some of these destinations include:

  • United States 

  • Australia

  • New Zealand

  • Singapore

  • Japan

International shipping guidelines for shipping medication

Certain international shipping guidelines apply when exporting medication and supplements from the Philippines. Medicines and pharmaceutical drugs fall under the regulated imports/exports category, which means they can only be exported when the relevant authorities' export licenses and clearance permits are obtained. Before exporting such pharmaceutical products overseas, you must obtain these required permits from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS), and other relevant authorities. 

For the export of pharmaceutical products from the Philippines via DHL Express, do note that the following applies:

  • Drugs: DHL Express does not accept shipments that contain Ketamine, Methamphetamine, Clonazepam, Cannabis, Cocaine, Alprazolam (-zolam), and Diazepam (-zepam). We will not ship illegal drugs as well. These include narcotic analgesics, hallucinogens, stimulants, and opium-related painkillers. Some countries allow the importation of medicinal cannabis. However, DHL Express prohibits the shipping of medicinal cannabis and does not accept any shipment with this ingredient.

  • Prescription medicines: In the case of prescription medicines for personal use, you may ship a supply of three months or 90 days, whatever the amount as per daily intake. In this case, an FDA certificate is not required. For commercial medicine export to the USA or any other international destinations, you must obtain the required permits and clearances from the FDA before you are able to ship the medicines abroad. In the case of anti-asthma dry powder used for inhalation, the maximum allowable quantity that DHL Express ships is 50ml for personal use.

  • Over-the-counter drugs: For other over-counter drugs, you may carry up to 50 grams. However, a maximum quantity of 500 grams can be shipped for maintenance medicine, which include vitamins and supplements.

  • Packaging: The international shipping guidelines call for medicines to be shipped in temperature-controlled packaging. This ensures that the drugs reach their destinations in a safe and protected environment. Failure to provide proper packaging is a violation of international guidelines as it puts the consumers' health at risk.

Partner With DHL Express to ship pharmaceutical products

DHL Express has been a trusted logistics partner in the healthcare industry, as our expertise in logistics ensures that your shipments are transported cost-effectively and safely. Through our vast network that spans hundreds of destinations worldwide, we have been assisting suppliers in the Philippines to export their health products and medicines abroad. In addition, we provide excellent packaging and customs facilitation services to ease the process of health products and medicines exported from the Philippines. Open a business account today with DHL Express and find out how we can help you export your pharmaceutical products overseas.