DOH orders price freeze on medical supplies, medicines in areas hit by Taal eruption
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has ordered a price freeze on 218 basic and essential medicines and medical supplies in areas affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.
In a memorandum dated Tuesday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH is mandated to monitor and regulate drug prices and to ensure that consumers are adequately protected against profiteering and hoarding that compromise their access to pharmaceutical products.
Citing Section 6 of the Republic Act No. 7581 or An Act Providing Protection to Consumers by Stabilizing the Prices of Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities and by Prescribing Measures Against Undue Price Increase During Emergency Situations and Like Occasions, he said it is the policy of the state to ensure the availability of basic needs and commodities at all times.
The price freeze, which will cover “all areas affected by the volcano eruption,” will be in effect for the duration of the situation unless otherwise lifted by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Under the memorandum, N95 face masks should only be sold for P45 to P105 each, while disposable face masks should be sold for only P1.10 to P8. Prices of some anti-asthma, antibiotics, analgesics, anti-allergies, anticonvulsants, anti-diabetics, anti-hypertensives, among other medicines, were also covered by the order.
The memorandum did not mention the specific areas where the price freeze will take effect, but Section 6 of RA 7581 states that automatic price control should be enforced whenever an area is “proclaimed or declared a disaster area or under a state of calamity” or is “declared under an emergency.”
The province of Batangas was placed under state of calamity on Monday as thousands of residents suffer the brunt of the volcanic activity that started on Sunday.
The DOH had earlier augmented medical supplies in its regional offices in Metro Manila and Calabarzon following reports that some stores have ran out of face masks and are overpricing the protective gear.
Edited by MUF
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