After almost a decade, a bill seeking to ensure access to affordable, quality medicines by majority of poor Filipinos is on the verge of finally becoming a law. But unless the matter devolves into one of political expediency, contentious issues between the House and Senate versions of the bill could delay its immediate passage.
Certified as an urgent piece of legislation by the Arroyo administration since 2001, the measure is set to be among Congress’s legislative priorities once sessions resume late this month. Late last year, both Houses passed two versions of the proposed law, and now a bicameral conference committee is supposed to reconcile these.
Both the bills’ principal authors, Senator Mar Roxas (Liberal Party) and Iloilo Representative Ferjenel Biron (Kampi), are optimistic that harmonizing the two drafts would be quick. Indeed, the two bills have a handful of similar provisions proposing to amend Republic Act 8293, or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, aside from other reconcilable stipulations.
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