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PIA Press Release
2008/11/01

DOH holds last IRR hearing for Cheaper Medicines Act

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (1 November) -- The last leg prior to implementation of the Cheaper Medicine Act or RA 9502 was held in Davao City and the Health Department is set to finalize the implementing rules by November 4.

The Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 had faced a lot of objections especially from the medical and pharmacological industry. However, Health Undersecretary Alexander Padilla confirmed that the law is now all set to be implemented.

The most controversial portion of the bill contested by many is the power given to the President to impose maximum retail prices over any or all drugs and medicines listed in the bill.

Some sectors debated that MRP or maximum retail price should not be imposed anytime and that the country should just let the market dictate the price of medicines.

"But we must always go back to the very intention of the law to bring down medicine prices for the poor," Padilla said.

The DOH sticks to the intention of coming out with a social legislation to regulate medicine prices which had been ultimately maneuvered by big drug companies.

The law states that the health secretary is authorized to establish and initiate a price monitoring and regulation system. The secretary should also recommend the MRP considering the retail prices of drugs, supply available in the market, cost to the manufacturer, importer, trader, distributor etc.

This provision prohibits retailers to sell drugs and medicines at a retail price exceeding the MRP approved by the President.

This would also push drug companies to produce and submit some pertinent records like input documents, records of purchase and sale, financial statements that would help the health secretary determine the appropriate MRP to be recommended to the President.

Padilla also bared that the DOH will come up with a list of drugs and their respective MRPs 15 days after the deadline which is on November 4. (PIA) [top]

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