SWS survey: Most Filipinos believe gov’t must provide free medicines
MANILA, Philippines — Most Filipinos believe that the government should provide free medicines to Filipinos, based on the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The survey, commissioned by the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), showed that 78 percent of adult Filipinos believe that the government “should definitely” provide free medicines, while 17 percent believe the government “should probably” give free medicines to those who need them.
The survey also found that medicines ranked first as the most burdensome healthcare expense, followed by the payment for doctor’s fees, laboratory fees, and hospital room.
According to a press statement from PHAP sent to the media on Thursday, it is estimated that for every P100 spent on medicines, P85 is paid “out-of-pocket” by Filipino families or shared by voluntary private insurance. Out-of-pocket spending is the expense of medical care that families pay directly from their own money or savings.
PHAP noted that the country’s private share in medical expenses is one of the highest in the world compared with Malaysia (45 percent), South Korea (42 percent), New Zealand (32 percent), and Thailand (9 percent).
The survey further reported the high preference of Filipinos for free and subsidized medicines as the most helpful way of obtaining medicines for grave illnesses.
“At present, the government is providing subsidized or free medicines for certain diseases but would need to be expanded to provide more support to patients, and cover more health conditions, especially for economically challenged patients,” PHAP noted.
Specifically, the respondents ranked “guaranteed PhilHealth financial subsidy to cover full or a portion of medication expenses” as the most helpful way to obtain medicines, followed by “acquiring free medications procured by the government from public hospitals, health centers, and government pharmacies.”
The third most helpful way to obtain medicines, according to respondents, is to “fully pay for the total cost of the prescribed medicines at a discounted price,” and the fourth is to “fully pay for the total cost of the prescribed medicines first, and ask the government to reimburse the full amount after.”
The survey was conducted from December 12 to 16, 2021 using face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults nationwide, consisting of 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao. It used a sampling error margin of ±2.6 percent for national percentages and ±5.2 percent for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, Visayas, and Mindanao.
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