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Andanar: Medicine EO proof of Duterte’s commitment to give comfortable life to Filipinos

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar lauded President Duterte’s signing of Executive Order No. 104 which sets a maximum price on priority drugs, saying it is proof of the Chief Executive’s commitment to give every Filipino a comfortable life.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar

Andanar said since drugs and medications make up a large part of the Filipinos’ health expenses, the EO will enable the public to have access to quality and affordable drugs and medicines.

“This is one of the testaments of this administration’s commitment towards improving every Filipino’s access to healthcare goods and services, alongside other social services,” he said.

“We will continue to undertake measures and programs that will further expand everyone’s access to healthcare and further promote the health development of Filipinos, in order to realize President Duterte’s goal of providing a dignified and comfortable life for all,” he added.

Andanar said the EO will enable Philippine medicines and drug market’s prices to be at par with those of the prices of its neighboring countries, noting that prices of medicines and drugs in the country have been one of the steepest in the Southeast Asian region.

President Duterte signed EO No. 104 on “Improving Access to Healthcare Through the Regulation of Prices in the Retail of Drugs and Medicines.” It will regulate and set the maximum retail prices and/or maximum wholesale prices on certain priority drugs and medicines for Filipinos, particularly those for diseases that are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality.

In an interview with ABS-CBN last month, President Duterte assured the public that he would sign the EO setting the maximum drug retail prices (MDRP), saying 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. I will even sign the document twice over,” he said last month.

The EO regulates the prices of at least 133 drugs and medicines used to treat several diseases and health conditions including but not limited to hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases or those affecting newborn babies, and major cancers.

The Department of Health (DOH) initially recommended regulating prices of at least 120 drugs and medicines. A technical working group was ordered to convene 3in 0 days after the issuance of the EO to set the maximum retail and wholesale prices of the remaining 36 drug molecules or 72 drug formulas included in the DOH’s recommendation.

Drug retailers were likewise given 90 days from the effectivity of the EO to dispose of their existing inventory stock at prevailing prices before the new rates take effect.

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