In a bid to provide Filipinos access to affordable quality medicines, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) that will regulate the prices of drugs used to address the leading causes of morbidity in the country.
Acting Palace spokesman Karlo Alexei Nograles said the President signed on Tuesday, December 7, EO 155 which sets the maximum retail prices (MRP) and maximum wholesale prices (MWP) of 34 drugs.
“This is part of efforts to improve access to affordable, quality medicines and reduce the health-related expenses of our countrymen, consistent with the goals of the Universal Health Care Act,” Nograles said in a statement.
Under EO 155, price caps will be imposed on drugs molecules and drug formulas used in agents affecting bone metabolism, analgesics, anesthetics, anti-angina, antiarrhythmics, anti-asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease medicines, antibiotics, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, antidiabetic drugs, antidiuretics, and antiemetics.
The order also covers medicines for glaucoma, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and Parkinson’s disease, among others.
“After conducting a price review using the methods of international reference pricing among Asean countries, mark-up regulation and stakeholders’ consultation, the TWG (Technical Working Group) recommended, and the DoH (Department of Health) endorsed the imposition of MPR and MWP on the remaining drug formulas of selected drugs and medicines,” the President said in his order.
“Consistent with the overall strategy under RA (Republic Act) 11223 or the ‘Universal Health Care Act,’ to improve the access to affordable and quality medicines and reduce health-related out-of-pocket expenses of Filipinos, there is a need to further impose MRP and MWP on other drugs and medicines commonly used for the leading causes of morbidity in the country,” he added.
Duterte’s EO requires all manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, traders and retailers to “display the retail price which shall not exceed the MRP” as stated in the order.
These medicines include Ibandronic Acid, Oxycodone, Sumatriptan, Dexmedetimidine, Nitroglycerin, Flecainide, Fenoterol + Ipratropium Bromide, Theophylline, Clavulanic Acid + Ticarcillin, Tinzaparin, Levetiracetam, Acarbose, Insulin Glulisine, Insulin Lispro + Insulin Lispro Protamine, Liraglutide, Metformin + Saxagliptin, Desmopressin, Palonosetron, Acetazolamide, and Pravastatin.
Also included in the list are Amlodipine + Hydrochlorothiazide + Valsaran, Amlodipine + Perindopril, Amlodipine Telmisartan, Atenolol + Chlorthalidone, Bosentan, Fosinopril, Hydrochlorothiazide + Quinapril, Iloprost, Indapamide + Perindopril, Lercanidipine, Metolazone, Nimodipine, Quinapril, Trandolapril + Verapamil, Verapamil, Afatinib, Erlotinib, Exemestane, Fulvestrant, Gefitinib, Bromocriptine, Bumetanide, Oxybutynin, Octreotide, Everolimus, Infliximab, Tacrolimus, Tocilizumab, Deferasirox, and Betamethasone + Salicylic Acid.
Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go commended Duterte for signing the order.
“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa ating mahal na Pangulo sa pag-apruba ng ating rekomendasyon na paigtingin pa lalo ang access ng mga Pilipino sa murang gamot lalo na ngayong may pandemya (We thank the President for approving our recommendation to intensify further the access of the Filipinos to cheaper medicines especially now that there is a pandemic),” said Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee.
“Patuloy po tayong magtatrabaho para maging mas mabilis, maayos at maaasahan ang serbisyong pang-medikal sa ating bansa (We will continue to work in order to make more faster, better and reliable the medical service in our country),” he added.