Roxas: Medicines bill also seeks improved drug quality, access

Monday, May 5, 2008 | posted in , , , , , | 0 comments

Senator Mar Roxas stressed that the newly-passed law— awaiting the President’s signature— does not only seek to lower prices of medicines but also seek to make these more accessible to consumers and to ensure their quality.
If medicines indeed become cheap but we do not ensure their quality, then we’re not protecting the patient in the end,” the principal author of the law, now known as the “Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act,” said.

Same case with access: it’s useless if medicines are cheap but patients can’t find them in the drugstores,” the Senate Trade Committee chairman added.
Roxas said that as the law seeks to allow the “parallel importation” of medicines, it would also necessitate the strengthening of the government agency regulating the quality of medicines—the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD)—to ensure quality of medicines being imported and the safety of the public.
We are beefing up the BFAD by allowing it to retain all its revenues—instead of it going back to the national treasury—so that it can upgrade all its facilities, equipment and personnel. This is roughly P150 million more spending on the safety of consumers,” he said.

By ensuring a higher standard of quality for both generic and branded drugs, the consumer can be more confident in purchasing less well-known but equally effective brands of medicines. Kailangan ito para maging kampante ang konsyumer, at para mawala na ang haka-haka na mas mabisa ang mahal na gamot,” he added.
The Liberal Party President meanwhile stressed that all efforts to ensure the affordability and quality of medicines will be for naught if these will not be accessible in the end.
That is why the law contains a ‘non-discriminatory clause,’ which prohibits drug stores from refusing to sell particular brands or kinds of drugs, including those sourced from parallel importation. Drug stores are also required to display these drugs with equal prominence,” he said.

Sa bansa natin, ang industriya ng gamot ay kontrolado ng iilan: mula sa manufacturing, sa wholesaling at hanggang sa retail. Kung pababayaan ito ay puwedeng mahadlangan ang access sa mga mas murang gamot,” he added.
To lower the prices of medicines, the law seeks to strengthen competition in the local pharmaceutical market by allowing the parallel importation of more affordable medicines, and by helping the development of the local generics industry. The law also grants the President the power to impose price ceilings on various drugs.

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