Vol. 45 No. 2 Original Article PDF

The Daily, Monthly, and Annual Cost of Glaucoma Therapy Using Ocular Hypotensive Eye Drops in the Philippines Based on a Quantitative Method

Corrina P. Azarcon, MD1, Nilo Vincent DG. Florcruz II, MD1,2,3

1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital, Taft Avenue, Manila
2University of the Philippines – College of Medicine, Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila
3American Eye Center, 5/F Shangri-La Plaza, EDSA corner Shaw Boulevard, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City

Correspondence: Corrina P. Azarcon, MD
Sentro Oftalmologico Jose Rizal Building, Philippine General Hospital, Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila
e-mail: corrinaa.md@gmail.com

Disclosure: No financial support was received for this study. The authors report no conflict of interests.



Objective: This study aimed to calculate and compare the costs of different brands of ocular hypotensive eye drops available in the Philippines.

Methods: This was a single-center research conducted at a local laboratory. Triplicate samples of 21 different brands of locally-available ocular hypotensive drops were tested. The mass of ten drops, total usable mass, number of drops per bottle, and mass of 200-µL aliquots were measured for each sample. These were used to calculate for the total usable bottle volume, drop volume, and number of drops per milliliter of each sample. Lastly, the daily, monthly, and annual costs were computed and compared.

Results: Available brands of β-blockers were the most affordable options for topical glaucoma therapy, with costs ranging from Php1,838 to 8,472 per year. Innovator brands of α-agonists and carbonic anhydrase inhibitors were the most expensive, with annual costs ranging from Php7,641 to 24,295 and Php7,361 to 25,327, respectively. Fixed-combination preparations, with yearly costs ranging from Php4,307 to 22,200, were generally more costeffective than individual preparations. The cost of topical anti-glaucoma therapy can amount up to 3.3 to 66.9% of a minimum-wage earner’s annual income depending on the number and combination of drugs being used.

Conclusions: The price range of ocular hypotensive eye drops available in the Philippines is wide. Cost of therapy is an important consideration for patients who acquire medications through out-of-pocket expenditure. Optimization of bottle designs and volumes is crucial to maximize the cost-effectiveness of eye drop solutions. Information on the cost of therapy should be available to both patients and physicians.

Keywords: ocular hypotensive eye drops, anti-glaucoma eye drops, glaucoma therapy, cost analysis, quantitative method, densitometric method

Philipp J Ophthalmol 2020;45:84-96