Strengthen “Botika ng Bayan’’ program- Año tells LGUs

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has directed the local government units (LGUs) to strengthen the “Botika ng Bayan and Botika ng Barangay’’ programs amid the efforts to discourage sari-sari (variety) stores not to sell medicines.

“Mayroon din tayong paguutos na i-strengthen ng ating mga LGUs yung mga ibang programa ng pamahalaan katulad ng Botika sa Barangay at saka Botika ng Bayan (We also issued the order for our LGUs to strengthen other government programs like the Botika sa Barangay and Botika ng Bayan),’’ Año said in an interview over GMA News.

He said around 170 Botika ng Bayan outlets were established in various parts of the country.

Initially the Botika ng Barangay program was launched during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2001 and was set-up anew in 2018 under the name Botika ng Bayan.

“Yung Botika ng Barangay dating programa simula pa sa panahon ni GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) na kung saan sa mga barangay tinutulungan din ng LGU na ang isang committee or organization or isang NGO (non-government organization) pwede magtayo ng drug outlet basta mayroong isa lang nagsusupervise na pharmacist at tinutulungan natin yan na maaprubahan para ito magsisilbing bilihan na mga gamot mas mura kesa doon sa tinatawag na drugstore (The Botika ng Barangay was an old program since the time of GMA where the LGUs also provides assistance to the committee or organization or an NGO to establish a drug outlet as long as there is only one supervising pharmacist and we help that to be approved for it will serve as an authorized drugstore that sells cheaper medicines),’’ he added.

The DILG chief explained that the Botika ng Bayan started in 2018 in the fourth and fifth class municipalities and far-flung areas during the term of Duterte where medicines for common ailments are free.

He noted that there are around 170 Botika ng Bayan outlets in the country “kaya maganda na i-strengthen natin yan (that is why it is better to strengthen it).’’

The DILG chief noted that the Department of Health (DOH) has earmarked a budget for the said programs with the Health Department also increasing the allotment for the purpose to widen the scope of the program.

Under Section 30 of Republic Act No. 10918 also known as the Philippine Pharmacy Act, only the FDA-licensed retail drug outlets or pharmacies are allowed to sell medicines to the public. (Chito A. Chavez)