I will sign medicine price cap EO ‘twice over’ –Duterte

Published January 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte assured the public that he will sign the draft Executive Order (EO) setting maximum drug retail prices (MDRP) submitted by the Department of Health (DOH) last month despite the strong opposition from pharmaceutical firms.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

In an interview with ABS-CBN, Duterte said he will definitely sign the draft EO once he sees it because a price cap on medicines would be good for the people.

“I will sign it. I will sign it. That is good for the Filipino. Reduced prices or maintaining a price for certain… I will even sign the document twice over,” he said in an interview aired over DZMM Monday.

“Wala pa. Maybe they are reviewing it. ‘Pag nasa table ko sa gabi binabasa ko (If I see it on my table at night, I will read it). I have not come across any. I heard of it but hard facts are not yet there. But in principle, I will even sign it twice over,” he added.

The DOH said last month that it has already submitted the draft EO to the Office of the President. The proposed order seeks to regulate prices of at least 120 drugs and medicines used to treat several diseases and health conditions.

The health conditions include hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases or those affecting newborn babies, and major cancers.

Earlier, the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) said that while the MDRP appears beneficial, similar measures were eventually withdrawn in other countries since they were found to be counterproductive.

The PHAP said pharmacists in small and medium-sized drugstores in other countries were affected as their pharmacies were forced to close down, or were sold to bigger chains due to the measure.

In his visit to New Delhi in January 2018, President Duterte invited India to make the Philippines its manufacturing hub for medicines to address the needs of the Filipino people.

Duterte reiterated this intention to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their bilateral meeting in New Delhi at the sidelines of the 2018 India-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Commemorative Summit in January 2018.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said both Duterte and Modi discussed the need to have a technical working group to work on pharmaceuticals development, both on trade and investments.