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PIA Press Release

Dagupan docs lament 'generic-name-only' prescription

By Danny O. Sagun

Dagupan City (13 February) -- Doctors are not against the proposed measure to lower prices of medicines, a government physician clarified Tuesday.

What they are railing against is the move to practically strip them of their right to prescribe what drug they think is best for their patients, according to Dagupan City Health Officer Leonard Carbonell.

He said the House version of the cheaper medicines bill mandates doctors to prescribe only the generic name of the medicines, which, if approved, already amends the Generics Act of 1988. The law allows doctors to write the generic name along with the brand name of drugs in the prescription slips.

He said that while the physician remains accountable to his patient, he however loses his right to prescribe the best medicines. That right has practically been transferred to the sales lady or clerk of drugstores, he noted.

"Sino naman ang nagmomonitor sa mga drugstores?" he asked, referring to the kind of drugs being sold.

Carbonell noted that the objective of the Generics Act has not been satisfactorily achieved as shown by the proliferation of fake drugs.

The Bureau of Food and Drugs with its limited manpower and facilities could hardly cope with the demands of the job, not as efficient and effective when compared with its counterpart in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Don Doria of the provincial health office agreed with Carbonell's observation saying the full realization of the objective of the generics law is left much to be desired.

The two doctos who guested last Tuesday at the Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan DZMQ said that physicians only think of the welfare of their patients so that they only prescribe what they believe are the best medicines based on experience and knowledge of the drugs.

They noted that makers of branded drugs take pains in explaining to the doctors the bioavailability, efficacy and important information about their products, in which case, it could not be said of producers of generic medicines.

Bioavailability is the ability of the drug to be absorbed immediately once it is taken, its presence in blood to be delivered to the organ or tissue for the desired effect, Carbonell explained.

The Pangasinan Medical Society has voiced its opposition only to that provision in the House version of the bill, Carbonell stressed.

On allegations that doctors get a "cut" from big drug companies, Doria said any incentives they get are secondary consideration. "Hindi gagamit ang mga doktor ng gamot na hindi effective," he said. (PIA) [top]

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