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PIA Press Release

Consumers Welfare Month promotes use of Filipino-made generic drugs

Tacloban City (October 5) -- The annual Consumers Welfare Month celebration in October focuses on the promotion of the extensive use of generic drugs and the patronage of Filipino-made generic products.

This year's theme is "Generic Drugs: Gawang Pinoy! Galing Pinoy! Tangkilikin Natin" in order to underscore the government policy to protect public health and to adopt appropriate extensive measure to promote and ensure access to affordable but quality medicines for all.

The Department of Health in coordination with the National Consumers Affair Council, spearheads this year's observance being the lead agency in protecting people's health and in ensuring access of all the people to quality and affordable medicine.

To enlighten consumers, massive information and education drives shall be conducted emphasizing the scientific basis of its use and its therapeutic effect. This will also correct the misconception that costlier branded medicines are more effective than cheaper generic medicines.

The government has implemented the Cheaper Medicines Act effective last August 15 and has started to apprehending drug stores not abiding with the provisions that prices of certain medicines are reduced by 50%.

This month's observance brings to mind that these days when Western medicines have become too expensive and scarce, it is good to note that Filipinos can rely on herbal medicines which are available in abundance, locally.

Available in commercial quantities and at much cheaper price, in Tacloban City, Leyte, are herbal medicines that are used as traditional and alternative medicines in the Philippines.

Situated in Tacloban City is the Herbal Processing Plant of the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care of the Department of Health.

Ms. Juaban, the manager of the herbal processing plant informed the Philippine Information Agency that there are many plants, about 400 of them in the Philippines which have medicinal or therapeutic values.

However, the Department of Health through its Traditional Health Program has endorsed 10 medicinal plants which have been thoroughly tested and have been clinically proven to have medicinal value in the relief and treatment of various ailments.

Presently, the Tacloban Herbal Plant of PTAHC has come up with the Lagundi tablets made from natural Lagundi (Vitex negundo) leaves which is known in English as the "5-leaved chaste tree". Its main use is for the relief of coughs and asthma. The tablets are available in 300 mg.

There is the 250 mg. Sambong tablet made from sambong leaves (Blumea balsamifera)- known in English as Blumea camphora, a diuretic that helps in the excretion of urinary stones and can also be used as an edema. This is also prescribed by doctors to patients with urinary tract infection.

Both the Lagundi and Sambong tablets are sold wholesale at a price of P150 per box of 100 tablets. This means that each tablet costs only P1.50 whole or P2.00 each at retail price.

Long, before the introduction of modern medicines and Western curative methods, herbal medicines had been widely used in the Philippines.

The curative effects of the herbs were tested by traditional healers on their patient on try-and-error basis. The knowledge and skills on the curative application of any give herbal medicine has been handed down from generation to generation. (PIA 8) [top]

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