Commentary: PGMA's half-priced medicine program
Tacloban City (September 18) -- President Arroyo's pushing for the half-priced medicine program, is a manifestation that she rests not in her quest and commitment to provide the Filipino people greater access to quality and affordable health services.
Nobody can deny that this program will benefit the poor families especially those in the hinterland who can not afford to buy expensive medicines. Addressing their health needs will ensure that each family will stay healthy. The money saved in buying cheaper medicines will mean a lot to poor families because instead of spending all their money to buy medicines, the families are able to save for the children's educcation and for their future.
As the President clarified, the half-priced medicine program is not a monopoly of the Philippine International Trading Center (PITC). Anybody who wants to buy half-priced medicines from India may do so even without going through the PITC.
Indeed, only last week, a well-known medical representative in Region 8 was seen in a conference with two Indian nationals who were representatives of a big pharmaceutical company in India.
The President said that the PTIC is there because it is the pioneer of this program. Local government units and private drugstores that want to get into this business are welcomed even without the PTIC.
However, should a local government unit, national government agency or any entity need seed capital, technical assistance, marketing assistance and supplying assistance, the PTIC is there.
In order to expedite the promotion and the poor people's access to the half-priced medicine program, there is that urgent need for Congress to pass the cheaper medicine bill, which almost got passed during the 13th congress if only there was quorum.
By passing the cheaper medicine bill, Congress could pave the way for the bringing down of the cost of medicines and giving the people better access to health services.
This is the chance for the national legislators who are the representatives of the Filipino people, to show once and for all their genuine concern for their constituents. (PIA 8) [top]