Anlorenze Mae B. Conde
What do you think is the future of drug discovery in the Philippines?
I, at first, found it hard to fathom that the next wonder drug would come from the Philippines. I don't think that drug discovery and research, for that matter, is a priority in our country. I always feel that the other countries are already far ahead in this field especially with their sophisticated technologies and decades of experience. Before entering the college of pharmacy, I had no idea that our country even had this capability.
One thing I did not take into account in my initial comment was that although creating a drug at its final form is a lengthy and very expensive process, drug discovery doesn't start there. We can consider the discovery of a lead compound a part of drug discovery. In line with this, I do believe the Philippines is capable of such discoveries especially since we are rich in untapped natural resources.
Maybe the next disease will have its cure within Philippine land, albeit only in its crude form. But I do hope that it will not end by just finding and even extracting the new curative substance. There should be widespread dissemination of such information and also patents should be established. With regards of the patents, we should further strengthen our current Intellectual Property Code. Cases such as that with erythromycin should not be repeated. Erythromycin was discovered in the soils of Ilo-ilo however the province nor even the country were not given its fair share of the billions gained by the foreign company that marketed it.
Some current feats of drug discovery in the country include the Pharmaseas Marine Drug Development of the UP Marine Science Institute. Marine microorganisms in sponges are being studied for...