Andanar pays tribute to pharmacists, makes pitch for low-cost, quality medicines

Published September 27, 2020, 10:36 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

With the coronavirus pandemic taking a toll on public health, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar has called for greater access to safe, affordable, and quality medicines, especially to those in need.

The Palace official made a pitch for low-cost yet quality medicines while paying tribute to the country’s health workers, particularly pharmacists, on the observance of the World Pharmacists Day on Sept. 25.

“Beyond the pharmaceutical firms and the retail outlets in the boticas where your services are integral, we hope that vital medicines, without sacrificing quality, could be made affordable enough specially for the most needy. You are the key in this important advocacy,” he said in a recent video message to the Philippine Pharmacists Association.

Andanar said the government recognizes the work of pharmacists and supports efforts to ensure Filipinos would have access to safe and cheaper medicines.

President Duterte recently extended the state of calamity across the country until Sept. 2021 to give state agencies the leeway to use funds faster to address the pandemic as well as mobilize the military and police to keep peace and order. The calamity proclamation will also allow agencies to monitor and control prices of basic necessities and prime commodities and provide basic services to the affected communities.

The six-month state of calamity was first imposed last March when the country’s coronavirus cases reached almost 200. The country has now more than 300,000 infections with the deaths reaching 5,284.

In the same message, Andanar lauded the country’s pharmacists for their “marvelous” service to the people facing the challenges of the pandemic.

“We honor your work in the preparation, preservation, compounding, and dispensing of drugs, including the research undertaken for the discovery of new medicines for healing and cure. We offer you our respect, our admiration, and our support,” he said.

This year’s World Pharmacists Day carried the theme “Pharmacists: Transforming Global Health.” The observance aims to highlight the contribution of pharmacists in promoting public health and developing safe and effective medicines and vaccines.

Andanar recognized that the pharmacists are “one of the most aware and most responsive” to the value of medicines and urged them to harness their ability to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic.

“A new vision arises from your critical profession. Converge in your adaptability to the changing environment,” he said.