Roxas calls for immediate approval of Affordable Medicines law

Senator Mar Roxas urged President Arroyo to immediately sign into law the approved consolidated version of the quality affordable medicines bill so that its implementation can begin.

Roxas, the principal author of the law now known as the "Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008," said he is puzzled why the signing of the law has yet to take place nearly a week after it was ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives—despite President Arroyo's declared support for it.
"We were able to pass the law before Labor Day as the legislature's gift to the people. I am puzzled that nothing has happened since and as of yesterday, we have yet to be informed about the date for its signing," he said.
He noted the concern voiced by Health Undersecretary Alex Padilla that some multinational firms might attempt to slow down the process of turning the affordable medicines measure into law as a means of preserving their profits.
"We all know that the President has been very supportive of this bill and so I am a bit perplexed as to why its signing has been delayed for nearly a week now," Roxas said.
He noted that the President only has three options whenever a bill is on her table: to sign it into law, to veto it or to just let it lapse into law. "It would be unfortunate if she just lets the Affordable Medicines Bill lapse into law."

The Liberal Party President reiterated his call for the Department of Health to convene an Affordable Medicines Summit in anticipation of the approval of the long-awaited law.
"We need a clear roadmap for implementation that already contains the inputs of the different sectors," the senator said, adding that this should be followed by an intensive public awareness campaign on the benefits of the new law.
He also called on the executive branch to exercise moral courage and political will in ensuring the proper implementation of the forthcoming affordable medicines law.



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Kevin Ray N. Chua

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