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PIA Press Release
2009/02/28

88 Botika ng Barangay outlets sell affordable, quality medicines to MP folks

by Juliet B. Saley

Bontoc, Mt. Province (28 February) -- People often times prefer branded medicines but the high cost of these medicines has made it unaffordable especially for the poor.

To ensure the availability and accessibility of affordable, safe and effective, quality, essential drugs to all with priority to marginalized, underserved and hard to reach areas, 88 Botika ng Barangay (BnBs) are successfully operating in the 10 municipalities of Mt. Province.

The municipality of Bauko has the highest number of BnBs with 14, followed by Natonin with 12. The municipalities of Bontoc has 11 BnBs, Besao has 10, Tadian with 9, Paracelis -8, Sadanga and Sagada with 7 each, Barlig -6 and Sabangan has 5.

The BnBs are subsidized by the Department of Health which has provided P12,500 to P25,.000 worth of medicines as their seed capital.

To refill the BnBs, operators may buy medicines at the Provincial Health Team office at cost or at the CFB pharmacy in Bontoc, the only accredited distributor for BnBs at cost if they buy in large quantity, but if they buy in small items, the CFB charge with retail price but still at a cheaper price.

According to Claudio Pancho, head of the Provincial Health Team (PHT), BnBs are allowed to mark-up medicines by 30 percent.

BnB operators who underwent training receive an honorarium from the barangays. Operators not paid by the barangay will charge their honorarium from the 30 percent mark-up, Pancho said.

He said operations of BnBs in the province have improved now that the province has employed a supervising Pharmacist who regularly monitors the BnBs.

Aside from the BnBs, there are also 9 Botika Binhi established in three municipalities in the province. 7 Botika Binhi are established in the municipality of Paracelis and one each in Tadian and Natonin.

Pancho said Botika Binhi is owned and managed by the community.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD) and the Provincial Health Team conducted an inspection on all pharmacies in the province.

As a result of their inspection, there were pharmacies operating using only the license of pharmacists, some has no pharmacist during the inspection.

One pharmacy was found out with no license, one with expired license and another selling imported medicines.

Pancho said these pharmacies with violations are given written warning notices for the first and second offenses and for the third offense, the BFAD will issue an order to cease and desist from operating. (PIA MP) [top]

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