Tulfo wants ban, recall of ‘ineffective’ generic medicines

Tulfo wants ban, recall of ‘ineffective’ generic medicines

Senator also slams 'pharma-sponsored junkets’
/ 04:28 PM April 02, 2024

generic medicines tulfo

UPDATES ON BULLYING IN HOSPITALS: Sen. Raffy Tulfo, during Tuesday’s hearing of the Committee on Health and Demography, April 2, 2024, seeks an update from the DOH) on its investigation of the reported bullying incidents in several hospitals. (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has demanded the ban and recall of “ineffective” generic drugs in the country, raising the need to sue pharmaceutical companies that manufacture such medicine.

Senator Raffy Tulfo raised this concern during the Senate committee on health and demography’s hearing on Tuesday.


Health Secretary Herbosa admitted in the hearing that while most generic medicines are cheaper, some are still “not as clinically effective” as branded ones.


“The public should be informed. We should know so that the public can avoid that. Our poor countrymen keep on buying these but as you say, these are not effective, so their money is just wasted. Those [that manufacture] generic [drugs] should be investigated or should be charged if they shortchange the manufacturing of medicine,” said Tulfo in a mix of English and Filipino.

“What you need to do, Sec. Herbosa is to tell your people — the good ones, your geniuses over there at the Food and Drug Administration — that you should expose what you say are ineffective generic drugs. You have to tell us that so we won’t buy it. That should no longer be prescribed, that should be banned, that should be recalled,” a visibly irked Tulfo emphasized.

READ: Truth be told: Generic medicines are not just affordable, they are safe and effective

Herbosa said they would heed Tulfo’s call, but the health chief likewise explained that the Food and Drug Administration is already monitoring generic drugs that are sold in the country.

Herbosa then noted that doctors can report to their respective hospital’s drug committee the medicines that are either not effective or have an adverse event.


READ: DOH: Make true, cheaper generics more accessible

On pharma-sponsored ‘junkets’

In the same hearing, Tulfo and Herbosa likewise argued over an alleged practice of some physicians who entertain extravagant trips sponsored by some pharmaceutical companies.

According to the senator, these illegal and controversial “pharmaceutical-sponsored junkets” are the reason why branded medicines are mostly being prescribed by physicians.

“Kasi nga po may tinatawag na junket. Yung mga doktor ginu-good time ng mga pharmaceutical companies sa mga seminar, sa abroad, schooling, free airfare, hotel accommodation — and we’re talking about millions of pesos and even dollars,” Tulfo claimed.

(Because there’s this practice that we call junkets. Some doctors are being treated well by pharmaceutical companies. Some get to attend seminars, go abroad, receive free schooling, free airfare, and hotel accommodation — and we’re talking about millions of pesos and even dollars.)

Herbosa, on the other hand, said the country professionally adheres to the Mexico Protocol, prohibiting all members of professional organizations from accepting gifts from pharmaceutical firms.

The health chief said pharmaceutical companies get penalized for this act. He added that he is aware that this used to be a practice for some in the old days.

This, however, did not sit well with Tulfo who proceeded to ask Herbosa if he was “born yesterday.”

“Even while we speak. May mga naka-schedule na papunta sa US, Canada, sa Australia, kung saan saang bansa — let me finish. I can prove this from doctors; may mga doktor na nagsusumbong sa akin. Ito ‘yung mga doktor na hindi pumapayag at tumatanggap,” said Tulfo.

(Even as we speak, some are already scheduled for trips to the US, Canada, Australia, and anywhere abroad. Let me finish. I can prove this from doctors. I have doctors who tell me these things, and they are the good ones who don’t accept such things.)

Tulfo even claimed that one hotel in Las Vegas is usually filled with doctors from different countries, including the Philippines.

The lawmaker said these doctors receive free airfare, free hotel accommodations, free registrations, as well as funds for casino gambling.

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“Now, ‘yan ‘yung dahilan kung bakit mataas ang presyo ng gamot dito,” said Tulfo.

(Now, that’s the reason why the price of medicine is high here.)

TAGS: generic, medicine, Raffy Tulfo

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