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PIA Press Release
2008/01/22

PGMA willing to talk with doctors - DOH

Manila (22 January) -- Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said President Arroyo is willing to converse with the doctors who plan to participate in a hospital holiday to protest the Cheaper Medicines Bill.

"The President hoped the doctors will not push through with the hospital holiday and she expressed optimism the issue can be resolved through discussions," Duque said during the launch of the National Anti-Dengue Campaign at the DOH.

He said Arroyo was not worried on the threat as she cited the previous case by private hospitals who wanted to stage the same protest but was worked out through a dialogue that patched up certain rules and regulations in Republic Act 9439, otherwise known as the Hospital Detention Law.

Members of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), the umbrella organization of medical groups in the country, threatened to hold a hospital holiday to protest a provision of the Cheaper Medicines Bill which requires doctors to prescribe only generic drugs.

The Cheaper Medicines Bill, now House Bill 6035, allows the parallel importation of cheaper patented medicines and prevents pharmaceutical firms from issuing new patents for new uses of existing drugs. If passed into law, the bills would make it easier for the development of generic versions of pricy patented medicines.

The health secretary also said Arroyo asked the DOH "to ensure that all lines of communication are open between the PMA and health department.

Duque reiterated the warning on government doctors who take part in the hospital holiday they may lose their licenses for disrupting their services.

The DOH also assured the public all government health facilities are ready to meet any deficiency that maybe caused by the planned move of some private hospitals to participate in the protest. (PNA) [top]

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