Duque opens 10,000th Botika ng Barangay outlet in Quezon City to reach more poor
Manila (25 September) -- To reach wider swath of the country's poorest with low-priced yet effective medicines, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III Monday launched the 10,000th "Botika ng Barangay" (BnB) outlet at Barangay Pinagkaisahan in Cubao, Quezon City.
The launching of the BnB outlet is also in line with the observance of the 29th year of the Generics Law.
"This is big news as more indigent Filipinos can now have access to low-priced yet effective medicines," Duque said.
BnB, he said, is one of the products of the "Half-Priced Program" of the government, which aim to reduce the cost of medicines commonly bought by the poor to half of their 2001 prices.
The health chief said BnB was established in 2003 to ensure accessibility to low-priced generic over-the-counter and eight prescription drugs. Among those sold at BnB outlets are antibiotics, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetis, anti-asthma, vitamins, analgesic, pain reliever, herbal tablets and common home remedies.
Duque assured that medicines and drugs sold in BnB outlets of high quality since they passed the stringent quality assurance test of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).
He also said BnB outlets were opened in communities, including even those in insurgent areas.
As of August this year, he said, the regions with the most number of BnB outlets are Central Luzon with 1,572, Western Visayas with 1,118 and Ilocos with 728.
Metro Manila, Duque said, has 385 outlets, but more are opening soon.
He said to reach even more beneficiaries, his department will set up more than 23,000 BnB outlets by year 2010, or an estimated one outlet for every two adjacent barangays.
To achieve this, he said, it is setting up of more than 3,000 BnB outlets every year beginning 2007 up to 2010.
Non-profit, BnBs outlets are being managed by people's organizations and non-governmental groups.
Among the medicines being sold in BnB outlet are amoxicillin 500 mg capsules for only Php2.02 per capsule as compared to the branded at Php5.10; cotrimoxazole tablet/capsule at Php1.69 per capsule as compared to Php9.20 branded; paracetamol 500 mg tablets at Php.46 per tablet as conmapred to P1.15, multivitamins for children at Php27.11 per 60ml bottle vis-à-vis branded at Php45.90 and others.
On how to set up a BnB oulet, the Department of Health (DOH) identifies the site, then enter into an agreement with local government and scout for supervising pharmacies.
Then, Duque said DOH will provide the seed capital of Php25,000 worth of medicines and drugs to local government through the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC).
Provision of low-priced yet quality medicines is one of the legacy programs of President Arroyo, he said. (PIA) [top]