UNILAB’s RiteMed Initiative: Making Medicine Accessible to the Poor

Authors Cristina V. Pavia Elvie Grace Ganchero
Lead Organization Unilab
Type of Organization Developing Country MNC
Country Philippines (South Asia)
Business Sector Health Care Consumer Products
Role of the Poor Consumer
Theme Civil Society-Business Collaboration Civil Society-Business Collaboration
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS 8: Global Partnership
Download Case Study Summary Download PDF Summary
Download Full-Length Case Study Download PDF
Abstract 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.
Citation Ganchero, Elvie G. & Pavia, Cristina. "UNILAB’s RiteMed Initiative: Making Medicine Accessible to the Poor." GIM Case Study No. A048. New York: United Nations Development Programme, 2008
Reference A048
Source GIM 2008
Type Case Study
Language English
Constraints Knowledge and Skills Market information Physical Infrastructure
Strategies Adapt Products and Processes Combine Resources and Capabilities with Others Invest in Removing Market Constraints