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Loren Files Genuine Pro-poor Medicines Bill

July 8, 2010

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY PUSHED FOR THE PASSAGE OF SENATE BILL NO. 5, WHICH AIMS TO REDUCE THE PRICES OF OVER 1,500 DRUG FORMULATIONS SINCE THE PRESENT LAW, R.A. 9502 OR THE UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE CHEAPER AND QUALITY MEDICINES ACT OF 2008, HAS BEEN FOUND WANTING.
“While Republic Act 9502 meant to cushion the high price of medicines, the law failed to meet the expectations and requirements of our marginalized Filipino citizens who should be the primary beneficiaries of a genuine Cheaper Medicine Law,” Senator Legarda explained.
She expressed deep concern over media reports showing the Filipino people’s dissatisfaction over the failure of R.A. 9502 to live up to its promise to bring affordable drugs, as it merely resulted to price reductions of only 22 drug formulations.
The Legarda Bill aims to reduce the prices of over 1,500 drug formulations and also recommends the creation of a Drug Price Regulation Board, which shall have the power to determine the maximum retail price of drugs and medicines, and punish those entities that violate said price regulations.
Sen. Legarda also proposed that every manufacturer, importer, distributor, wholesaler, trader or retailer of a drug or medicine intended for sale, be required to print the maximum retail price on the label of the container. “Those drugs excluded from the price regulation, should display in indelible print mark and on a green strip the words, Not Under Price Regulation on the label of their containers.”
“The Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry shall jointly conduct independent periodic surveys and studies of the selling prices of all drugs and medicines all over the country relative to their impact on the family incomes of the different economic groups to serve as a database for government efforts in promoting access to affordable medicines.”
“I am also recommending that all medical, dental, veterinary practitioners, including private practitioners, be enjoined to use the generic name of the drug or medicine in their prescriptions instead of the branded ones which are generally more expensive.”
Senator Legarda asserted, “I recommend that this bill be certified as urgent. With the rainy season coming up and the threats of more diseases and sicknesses abound, we have to be diligent in protecting the health of our people.”