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Viagra Included in Cheap Medicine Law
« on: July 31, 2007, 09:45:48 PM »
Written By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

To give more zest to his cheap medicine bill, Senator Mar Roxas is making sure all medicines -– from life-saving drugs to anti-impotence drugs like Viagra -– will be covered by the price-busting legislation.

Roxas told reporters that the cheaper medicine bill he had refilled -- his previous version was approved in the Senate but got stalled in the House of Representatives -- would be all encompassing to include erectile dysfunction drugs.

``It's (Viagra) a drug so I don't see why it should not be covered by the cheap medicine bill. We should easily cut the price by more than 50 percent,” said Roxas. ``Of course, our priority is the essential drugs, like those for cancer and diabetes.”

Drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction by increasing the flow of blood into the penis have become popular but are still out of reach of most Filipinos.

Roxas said the inclusion of all drugs should broaden public support for the approval of the cheaper medicine bill by the new Congress.

“I welcome the President’s remark on the bill during her Sona (State of the Nation Address)," he said. "I also see hope in the House Speaker’s intention to expedite its approval."

Roxas said the Senate "will thwart any lobby to defeat this bill."

Roxas' bill would ease restrictions found in the Intellectual Property Code and allow a parallel importation of identical yet much cheaper medicines from other countries.

It also allows generic drug manufacturers to begin experimentation, production, and registration of drugs before expiry of patents.

The bill grants the government discretion in the use of patents when public health is at stake, and provides a framework for ample compensation to the patent holder.

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The Cheap Medicine Bill In The Philippines

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