Pera-pera lang! Hontiveros urges DOH: Name pharmaceuticals opposed to lower drug prices

Senator Risa Hontiveros/photo courtesy of Philstar

Senator Risa Hontiveros is asking the Department of Health (DOH) to pin point the pharmaceutical firms who were apparently petition against the move to lower the price of at least 120 medicines.

Allegedly, some drug companies are against in lowering the price of 120 drugs and medicines for common diseases and conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and different types of cancer.

Recentrly, Hontiveros called on the Duterte administration to immediately exercise price control and regulatory powers granted under the Cheaper Medicines Law or Republic Act No. 9502, in order to bring down the price of medicines while the government grapples with the multiple health emergencies facing the country.

The opposition senator, who co-author of the Cheaper Medicines Law when she was still member of the House of Representatives, raised this issue on Tuesday during the plenary deliberation of the DOH’s budget for 2020.

According to her, there has been several report on some pharmaceutical companies opposing the proposed use of government’s regulatory powers under the Cheaper Medicines Act (RA 9502) to lower the “unfair and anti-poor” prices of much-needed medicines in the country.

She said that if reports were verified, the firms should be named and should be queried why they are opposing the initiative to lower the prices of medicines and why their medicines are more expensive than their international reference prices (IRP).

“Nanawagan ako sa DOH na pangalanan ang mga pharmaceutical companies na mas inuuna pa ang kanilang malalaking tubo at kita kaysa sa buhay at kalusugan ng mamamayan,” Hontiveros said.

“Sa panahon na kaliwa’t kanan ang epidemiya at mga nagkakasakit, ang presyo ng gamot ay hindi dapat dagdag-pasakit,” she said.

She recalled that the government was able to use the power to regulate the prices of medicines and set the MDRP of five drugs and immediately slashed their price by 50 percent two years after Congress passed the Cheaper Medicines law.

It was reported that an association of pharmaceutical companies dismissed the proposal to impose Maximum Drug Retail Prices (MDRP) on 120 medicines for various illnesses like hypertension, asthma, and diabetes as “contentious and counterproductive.

The companies promised that they will coordinate to the DOH “so that government does not have to resort to price control.” as per report.

Source: Politiko

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