DOH, DTI urged to regulate prices of COVID-19 therapeutic drugs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should regulate prices of medicines doctors are using to treat patients afflicted with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the absence of a vaccine, a lawmaker said Friday.
Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castro said these medications, which include remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, dexamethasone, and ivermectin, could prevent the deterioration of COVID-19 and hasten the recovery of patients as per testimonies made by doctors.
“Their prices have shot up by as much as 12 times. One of these drugs now costs about P60,000, if you can find it in the market,” Castelo said.
“At their present prices, the poor sick with COVID-19 cannot afford them,” she added.
Castelo said that not only would regulating the prices of the said drugs help the poor, but it would also conserve the funds of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), which shoulders the treatment and hospitalization of many COVID-19 patients.
The lawmaker added that the DOH, DTI and other concerned agencies should ensure that no importer, manufacturer, distributor, reseller, trader, or government or private entity hoard any of these drugs.
“They should also make sure that these are readily available in the market. It is possible that hoarding and scarcity have contributed to the significant increase in prices,” Castelo said.
As of August 28, there are 209,544 COVID-19 cases in the country, with recoveries at 134,474 and death toll at 3,325.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.