Roxas to GMA: Get back to work, slash drug prices

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | posted in , , , , , , | 0 comments

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today asked President Arroyo to get back to work now that she’s back in the country and sign an important executive order that imposes maximum retail price on the most vital drugs in the country.

In fact, Roxas said, Mrs. Arroyo should shake off the travel bug and even include the anti-flu drug Tamiflu as the 23rd medicine in the MRP list submitted to her by the Department of Health to make it more accessible to flu-scared consumers nationwide.
"Get back to work. Sign the executive order for the MRP so Filipinos can finally buy affordable and quality medicines in drugstores," Roxas said as GMA wound up a 13-day trip to Japan, the United States, Colombia, Brazil and Hong Kong at the height of the A(H1N1) flu scare in the country.

"Matagal ng inaantay ng taumbayan ang abot-kaya at de-kalidad na gamot. Isang taon simula nang maging batas ito, wala pa ring mabiling murang gamot ang taumbayan sa mga botika," lamented the primary author of the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Law.
The DOH has submitted the draft EO on the MRP to the Office of the President last June 16. The President’s approval is necessary before the department could start imposing price ceilings on the top 22 prescribed medicines in the country, which includes, among others, hypertension, diabetes and anti-bacterial drugs.

Roxas renewed his call to include Tamiflu (Generic: Oseltamivir) and other anti-viral drugs in the MRP, stressing the need to put price ceilings on the drugs to ensure their affordability.

He noted the spiraling costs of medicines that treat symptoms of the A(H1N1) flu. Tamiflu had previously cost only P40/capsule before the flu virus began spreading in the country. It is now sold at an average of P150 to P155 apiece.
"Kailangang siguruhin nating abot-kaya ang halaga ng mga gamot laban sa A(H1N1)" the Visayan senator said.

"Responsibilidad ng pamahalaan na panatilihing malusog ang taumbayan. Bakit kailangang unahin ang biyahe bago bigyan ang taumbayan ng murang gamot?" he added.



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Kevin Ray N. Chua

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