Starting off his illustrious career as a professor of industrial pharmacy within the University of the Philippines, Dr. Alfredo Santos is most known for his research isolating alkaloids from various medicinal plants that are native to the Philippines. The ultimate goal of his research was to help lower the prices of pharmaceuticals, by finding natural alternatives that could perform as substitutes to the sometimes overly pricy imported materials that were so popular at the time. Many people in the countryside couldn't afford those imported drugs, and so there was a high need for these lower-priced alternatives that he helped champion.
The specific type of study that Dr. Alfredo Santos was able to contribute a great deal to was through isolating and elucidating the alkaloid known as phaentharine. He also served as Dean at the College of Pharmacy in the University of the Philippines. Prior to this, he received his own undergraduate degree from this same university in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Doctorate degrees both from the University of Santo Thomas as well as Westfalische Wilhelms Universitat in Munster, in 1929. These extensive credentials helped him to approach the issues that he was interested in from several different sides. He went on to study at the UST Research Center and the National Institute of Science and Technology, for further research opportunities in his field of choice.
The pharmaceutical industry within the Philippines benefited from this effort of Dr. Alfredo Santos , as he brought attention to the need for society to work on a higher level to try and find solutions to the rising and prohibitive cost of pharmaceuticals in the country. This has spawned other groups that have been dedicated to finding new solutions, and take a look at the richness of the botanicals that are abundant in the Philippines. Native alkaloids and other materials have been isolated and reworked into a number of different varieties, to simulate the effects of more costly drug options.
As a result of his work and contributions to society, Dr. Alfredo Santos became the recipient of a number of different awards. This includes his receipt of President Magsaysay's Distinguished Service Star in 1954. In addition to this, he also received the Outstanding Pharmacist Researcher of the Philippine Pharmaceutical Association award, and the PhilAAS Outstanding Scientist award. The final honor that every Filipino scientist aspires to was his being awarded the recognition as a National Scientist, in 1978 under the president Ferdinand Marcos.