India's pharmaceutical companies should consider establishing alternative manufacturing and research facilities in the Philippines, according to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

The business organization said that setting up a base in the Philippines would allow Indian manufacturers to enjoy tariff-free entry of their medicine products to markets within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"The Philippines should not only be a viable market for cheap Indian medicine; our country could also be an alternative production location for Indian pharmaceutical companies," said Miguel B. Varela, chairman of PCCI, during a recent business forum with a delegation from the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil).

Varela said that the Philippines can support low-cost drug development and research, while also being a good base for reaching Asia-Pacific markets.

The continuing presence of world-class multinational pharmaceutical companies in the country is proof of its capacity to host an expansion of Indian pharmaceutical production, the PCCI chairman added.

PCCI president Alfredo M. Yao, meanwhile, said that the Generics Act of 1988 and the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2008 introduced and supported a market for generic drug products in the Philippines, mostly from India, Pakistan and Taiwan.

India's Ambassador to the Philippines, Lalduhthlana Ralte, commented that the Pharmexcil visit was an indication of Indian firms' growing interest in exploring opportunities in the Philippines.