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The Cheap Medicine Bill In The Philippines
« on: December 13, 2007, 08:44:05 AM »
By Sheila Crisostomo
Philippine Star

A non-government organization seeks the creation of a drug price regulatory board to ensure that medicine is within reach of the average Filipino.

The KilosBayan para sa Kalusugan (KBK) believes the Cheap Medicine Bill in Congress would not serve the interest of poor patients.

“The creation of a drug price regulatory board could be one crucial step in lowering the prices of medicine,” the group said.

“KBK is not very optimistic that the people will really have access to low-cost essential medicine through the much-boasted about Cheaper Medicine Bill.”

The KBK has been pushing for the lowering of drug prices, among other health-related advocacies.

It is hopeful that through a drug price regulatory board, the government will set a ceiling for the prices of medicine.

It sees a need for the Philippines to develop its own national drug industry, similar to what India and Pakistan did 10 years ago to become today’s leading source of medicine in the world.

“In the comprehensive and strategic sense, the Bill does not make any single mention about the need to develop our own national drug industry,” KBK said.

“Scientific research, development and manufacture of local essential drugs could not flourish given the present restrictions on trade and lack of government support.”

The KBK said the Cheap Medicine Bill has not addressed the fact that prices of medicine in the Philippines are very high and how they can be lowered.

“The KBK is disappointed that the Cheaper Medicine Bill did not tackle the problem,” it said. “The Bill is silent about the control of multinational corporations in the marketing, distribution and pricing of medicine.”

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