Philippines is a country with large population and wide network of hospitals, medical centers and health care professionals, making it a fertile platform for conducting clinical trials.
In clinical trials, Philippines ranks number three in Southeast countries (US NIH) and ranks number eight worldwide (European Medicines Agency reports).
Currently, a total of 950 clinical trials have been registered in the Philippines with 161 ongoing trials in major therapeutic areas like
- Respiratory disease and Lung disease
- Communicable disease and Infectious disease
- Diabetic/Metabolic/Endocrine disorders
- Immune system disorders
- Vascular disease and
- Oncology 
- To conduct clinical trials in Philippines that involve the recruitment of Filipinos as volunteer subjects, FDA (Food and Drug Administration, Philippines) approval is mandatory.
- FDA conform to the highest ethical and technical standards of clinical research, The final approval by FDA to conduct trial will be based on review Institutional / Ethical review Board (IRB/ERB)
- Applications approved by FDA are forwarded to Institutional/Ethical review board.
- ERB/IRB is accredited based on the recommendation of the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB) by FDA, Philippines.
- The timeline of IRB/ERB for decision making on approval of trial should not exceed 60 days.
- The FDA will give the final decision to approve or deny an application based on the recommendation, submitted in written format, emanating from the ERB/ERC review.
Documents are submitted as hardcopy or electronic file based on preference of FDA and ERB/ERC.
Documents submitted should include those in Parts A, B and C and such other documents or data as hereinafter be required by FDA to ascertain safety, efficacy and quality of the products that will be subject to clinical study.
Clinical Trial Protocol and other Pertinent Documents
- Name and dosage form of product
- Title and aim of the trial
- Description of the trial design and subjects
- Treatment profile and operational aspects
- Adverse events and evaluation of results
- Informed consent form, case report form and patient information sheet
- Resumes of principal and other investigators
- For multi-center studies, a list of principal investigators (and CVs) including trial sites
- GMP statement from manufacturing and certificate from regulatory body
- Certificate of analysis and stability data.
- Manufacturing data, formulation and product labeling.
Investigator’s Brochure IB (Efficacy and Safety Data)
- Non-Clinical Studies
- Clinical PK/PD and toxicology Studies, risks and ADR anticipated
- Marketing experience, Periodic Safety Update Reports (PSUR), product status if marketed abroad
- PK/PD data in human subjects
- In-house preliminary data
- Summaries of clinical trial studies conducted (Phase I, II, III)
- Published clinical data
What are the clinical practice guidelines for Ethical clearance?
Philippines government, In 2006, issued the National Ethical Guidelines for Health Research to reinforce clinical trial regulations and make sure the regulatory phases of trials are followed.
The guidelines state seven criteria for ethical clearance of a research protocol:
- The nature and gravity of the risk to human subjects
- The adequacy of safeguards and protection against risk
- The magnitude of potential benefits or harm to individuals or community
- The validity of the study participants informed consent
- The ecological impact
- Clarification of potential conflicts of interest 
After submission its about a 3-5 month process of approval.
- The initial submission fee is PHP 2500 (approximately US$50).
- Another PHP 20,000 to 40,000 (US$400 to US$800) is charged for IRB/ERB processing fees.
- The applicants must submit their clinical trial proposals to the FDA.
- The FDA passes these applications along to the Institutional Review Board/Ethical Review Board (IRB/ERB) for conduct, ethical and technical review.
- The IRB/ERB submits its recommendations for the approval or denial of the proposal to the FDA.
- The FDA makes the final decision to approve or to reject proposals.
Clinical trial registry
All clinical trials should be uploaded in Philippine Clinical Trial Registry (CTR) after 30 days from granting approval to conduct clinical trial.
- Import permit is granted after approval to conduct clinical trial upon application supported by the FDA document attesting to the approval of the clinical trials to proceed based on compliance to ethical and technical requirements as ascertained by the ERB/ERC.
- Application may be submitted by principal investigator/authorized representative/CRO with permanent Philippine address, representing the sponsor through a letter of authorization.
- The import permit will be issued by Product Services Division (PSD) with the cooperation of the Regulation Division I, which has linkage with the Bureau of Customs in this regard.
- FDA conducts random inspections on the clinical trial sites to monitor compliance to the approved study protocol and monitoring plan of the sponsor.
- It specifically looks into adherence to the GCP.
- All adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) both serious and unexpected are subject to expedited reporting.
- Fatal (deaths) or life-threatening, serious unexpected ADRs occurring in clinical trials, onsite or offsite (for multi-site studies) should be reported.within 7 Calendar days.
- All other unexpected serious ADRs, that are not fatal or life-threatening, onsite or offsite, must be filed as soon as possible, no later than 15 calendar days after first knowledge by the sponsor that the case meets the minimum criteria for expedited reporting.
- Adverse drug reactions which are not serious will also be reported in the regular progress report and final report. 
To explore more South East Asian regions, follow the links below
- Clinical Trials in Indonesia
- Malaysia – Why and How to Start Your Clinical Trials?
- Conducting clinical trials in Vietnam – why and how to start?
- Singapore Clinical Trial Regulatory Process
- Thailand’s Clinical Trial Regulatory Scenario – Simplified (Part – 1, Part – 2).