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Bill on price cap on masks, other medical supplies filed

/ 05:42 PM February 07, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A measure seeking to put a price cap on “medically necessary assistive equipment” and medical supplies, such as wheelchairs and medical masks, has been filed at the House of Representatives.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda (2nd District) filed House Bill 6219 or the “Affordable Medicines, Medical Equipment and Supplies Act,” which seeks to amend Republic Act 9502, or the “Cheaper Medicines Law.”

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Aside from allowing the Secretary of Health to put ceiling into the prices for necessary medical supplies, Salceda’s bill also seeks to grant the health chief the power to negotiate prices of all medicines.

According to Salceda, the measure will compel companies to lower prices if they want to sell medicine in the Philippines since the government will be under a single-payer system under Universal Health Care.

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The veteran lawmaker explained that under the Cheaper Medicines Law, the government was able to set a Maximum Drug Retail Price (MDRP), however, poor Filipinos are still unable to buy medicine.

“The MDRP helps those who can buy medicine in the first place. For those who cannot buy medicine, mahal pa rin basta mataas ang MDRP (it’s still expensive as long the MDRP is high).” Salceda added.

Salceda said that his bill will allow the government to purchase more medicines, which means that more medicine will be given to the poor.

The measure also requires the Philippine National Drug Formulary to include best-practices in prescribing and discourage the use of ineffective, dangerous, or excessively costly medications when better alternatives are available.

The Formulary shall also encourage the use of generics to the greatest extent possible, Salceda noted.

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TAGS: Cheaper Medicines Law, Congress, DoH, Health, Joey Salceda, medical supplies
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