The Philippines posted GDP growth of 6.9% in Q1 2016, setting a pace among the fastest in Asia and beating even China’s 6.7% growth. The increase marked the Philippines’ highest quarterly GDP gain since Q2 2013.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippine economy is on track to meet its full-year growth target of 6.8%-7.8%. The main Q1 driver was the services sector, which expanded by 7.9% from 5.5% the previous year. Faster growth in trade, finance and real estate, renting and business activities helped push expansion.

In politics, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was elected the country’s next president. Mayor Duterte garnered 16.6 million votes in the presidential race in May. The 12 Senate seats being contested saw five first-time and four returning senators elected, along with three who retained their seats. The three senators who received the most votes were Senator Franklin Drilon, followed by former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director-General Joel Villanueva and Senator Tito Sotto.

The pharmaceutical market was valued at 155 billion pesos (US$3.3 billion), registering 9% growth as of MAT March 2016. The hospital channel continued its double-digit growth, increasing 18% from 10% in the same period last year. The ethical market, at 114 billion pesos (US$2.4 billion), grew by 9% while the proprietary market grew 8% from -0.4% year on year. Local companies outstripped multinationals at 17% growth, with multinationals achieving 3% growth. Major drugstore chains continued to consolidate, with investments made by Robinsons Retail Holdings Ltd. in The Generics Pharmacy and Ayala Group acquiring a stake in the Generika pharmacy chain.

Government purchases also posted strong growth, with increased sales in vaccines, specialty and oncology products as well as contraceptive therapies. Zuellig Pharma Philippines Market access services under Patient Solutions established a milestone Mass Vaccination Program partnership by linking up with the country’s biggest retail channel. Over 50,000 doses of flu vaccines were administered during the initial implementation in May. The partnership aims to vastly improve public access to flu vaccinations and is targeting around 120,000 patients for the year.