Thursday, August 13, 2009

Maximum Drug Retail Price: Deceitful and Illusory

Consumers still have to find out that the prices of medicines in the next few months will remain expensive despite the Maximum Drug Retail Price or Executive Order 821 signed by Mrs. Arroyo last July 27, 2009.

EO 821 is deceitful and illusory. EO 821 will not have a significant impact on bringing down the prices of medicines for the Filipino people.

EO 821 listed five medicines for compulsory compliance and 16 other essential medicines for voluntary compliance to treat hypertension, diabetes, cancer, bacterial infections and amoebiasis. EO 821 stands to benefit the users of these medicines; but it should include more essential medicines that are most widely used and are first-line medicines needed for the treatment and cure of more prevalent diseases in the country. Medicines that should have been included are those needed to treat the 10 leading causes of morbidity and mortality which include respiratory diseases, pneumonia and tuberculosis, among others.

In addition, EO 821 sets the compulsory maximum drug retail prices (MDRP) of five medicines. Price regulation of medicines is a step in the right direction. However, the MDRP under EO 821 is misleading. The mechanism used in determining the drugs for compulsory MDRP has been pegged on the drug originator price which though slashed to about 50 percent is still expensive. Take the example of Amlodipine which is used to lower blood pressure. Under EO 821, MDRP of Amlodipine 10mg is P38.50, about half the price of its originator brand medicine Norvasc 10 mg sold at P77 in a leading drug store. Why set an MDRP for this medicine at this amount when its generic equivalent is sold at P15 at a known drugstore selling generic medicines?

In related developments, private hospitals plan a hospital holiday in the light of the Aug. 15 deadline on implementing EO 821. At the end of the day, hospital holiday will affect patients. Hence, the government must exhaust all means to settle the problem and spare the people another burden.

In the interest of the Filipinos, the list of medicines to be placed under MDRP should include more essential medicines that are widely used. The MDRP should be pegged at prices that an ordinary worker can afford with his meager income. Government should promote and make available quality generic medicines as a viable alternative to expensive brand medicines.

The Filipinos have long awaited relief from the high prices of medicines in the country. Unfortunately, the law failed in its promise of more affordable prices for medicines. Mrs. Arroyo's lack of sincere measures to regulate the prices of essential medicines is in effect an expression of collusion with big pharmaceutical companies.#

This press statement was released August 13, 2009 during a press conference at Tree House Restaurant in Quezon City. The press conference was organized by Consumers' Action for Empowerment and Health Action Information Network (HAIN). For more details about the campaign, please contact:

Eleanor M. Nolasco, RN
Convener, Consumers' Action for Empowerment
Mobile: 0905-3255223

1 comment:

SRK Herry said...

your blog is nice


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