DOH to push through with price cuts on medicines

Published November 13, 2019, 9:20 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Analou De Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) said that the proposal of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) to cut the prices of certain medicines will not fully support the department’s campaign to make drug prices more affordable.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III   (Photo by Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III
(Photo by Jansen Romero/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE)

“The offer is full of good intentions. But whether those intentions will translate into actual benefits to our people is something that is not clear,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

Duque noted that the PHAP admitted that it does not have control on how hospitals, pharmacies, and drugstores will mark up their drug products.

“While they could be willing to cut down their prices, they admitted that they cannot control how the retailers will structure their pricing,” said the health chief.

PHAP recently said that at least 18 multinational pharmaceutical companies are offering to reduce their medicine prices substantially “to help the public cope with the rising health care costs.”

Duque said that they are determined to push through with their proposal of imposing a maximum drug retail price that covers 120 drugs. The average drop in drug prices that the DOH is suggesting is at 56 percent.

The proposed list covers 120 drugs addressing leading diseases and catastrophic conditions in the Philippines such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases, and major cancers.

The health chief said that public consultations are still being conducted with regards to the imposition of the maximum drug retail price.

“We will have to ensure that the public consultations are complete and concluded so that there will be better, higher confidence as to the content of the draft Executive Order,” said Duque.

Duque also said that the date of effectivity of the said measure will depend on the decision of President Duterte.

“At the end of the day it will depend on when the President finally decides to sign it,” he said.