Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Health Secretary Francisco Duque is optimistic that the prices of more than 100 life-saving drugs will be cheaper by 50 percent next year as he expects President Duterte to issue executive order lowering the prices of those drugs by yearend.
Duque said the proposed executive order is being finalized and after the President signs it, there be a 120-day allowance before the EO takes effect to allow the pharmaceutical industry time to unload their stocks.
The DOH had announced that it already submitted to the President a list of 120 drugs for the imposition of maximum drug retail prices (MDRP). The proposed list covers drugs for catastrophic conditions such as cancer hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases. It also covers the high cost of treatments for chronic renal disease, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The DOH said prices of selected medicines are expected to have a mean reduction of 56 percent from the prevailing market prices once the EO is signed.
If the DOH and President Duterte can iron out the details of the Executive Order and it is signed before the year ends, 2020 will be kind to the millions of Filipinos affected whose costs for the treatment of various ailments should be drastically reduced. We hope that they can perform the requisite consultations and due diligence necessary so the EO can be reviewed, tweaked, signed and then implemented for the benefit of those who need medicine to live normal lives.
High prices of medicines undermine the health and lives of millions of Filipinos. Despite the entry of generic medicines into the market, Filipinos still pay more for medicines compared to the rest of the world. An effort to control the prices of selected medicines is a good start for the Philippine government and we hope that such adjustments boost the trend towards more favorably priced medicines in the country.*