Price ceilings on medicines hailed

SENATOR Sonny Angara aired his support for the price ceiling capped by the Department of Health (DOH) on certain medicines, which he said will provide some degree of relief to the consumers, especially the poor.

The DOH recently included 120 medicines under the maximum retail price (MRP) scheme to help bring down the price of life-saving drugs for Filipinos.

Included in the new list are medicines for killer diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular, chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases, renal disease, and major cancers.   

This is the second batch of medicines included in the MRP scheme that is provided for under Republic Act 9502 or the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2008.

“Kung tama ang pag-aaral ng DOH na ‘generic drugs are still sold up to four times the international reference prices here and branded innovator products are sold up to 22 times higher,’ walang duda na makaturangan at makatao ang ganoong hakbang,” Angara said.   

“Ang pinamalaking component ng out-of-pocket health expenses ng pamilyang Pilipino ay gamot na aabot sa 50 percent,” Angara added.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, per capital health spending of Filipinos was at P6,791 in 2017.

Based on the population of 104.9 million, the total national health spending in 2017 was at P713 billion.

Household out-of-pocket spending accounted for 54.5 percent or P373 billion of the current health expenditures that year. Fifty percent or P187 billion of the out-of-pocket expenditures went to the purchase of medicine.

“Kada isang Pinoy, P1,779 ang ginagasta para sa gamot kada taon. Kaya nga ako, pinaglaban ko na ang VAT sa sale of drugs and medicines prescribed for diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension ay burado na simula January 1, 2019.  Ito ay pinapatupad na batay sa RA 10963 o ang TRAIN law,” Angara said.