Medicine is one of the necessities of life; in fact, some people, if not most, rely on it for their everyday routines. This is why a lot of people became bothered that medicine prices have been hiking.
The Department of Health (DOH) was able to list a total of 120 medications that are high-cost and recommended that they have a price reduction.
Maximum Drug Retail Price Scheme
Under the Maximum Drug Retail Price (MDRP) Scheme, the the DOH recommends that a price reduction for 120 medications are to be done.
Republic Act No. 9502 or more commonly known as the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, the MDRP scheme looks to have the prices of selected high-cost medicine to be reduced to an average of at least fifty-six (56) percent from their current market prices.
When would the price reduction for 120 medications start?
According to Health Department Undersecretary Eric Domingo, the price reduction will pursue and commence when an Executive Order (E.O.) is issued.
Prices of selected medicines are expected to have a mean price reduction of 56 percent from the prevailing market prices once an executive order is signed by President Duterte.”
This means that it won’t start when the government just gives the go signal for it; it will only start when an official Executive Order has been commissioned.
In addition to that, he said that they are expecting our dear President Duterte to issue the E.O. for the imposition of the MDRP by October of this year.
Which types of medications are included?
In the list that was recommended by DOH, medications for the following conditions and diseases are included in the price decrease:
- Heart diseases
- Chronic lung diseases
- Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)
- Chronical Renal disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis; and
- Some major cancers
Domingo made a mention that prices of anti-cancer drugs will be reduced from the current P4, 300.00 per tablet to just P2, 900.00.
In addition to that, Domingo said that Generic Drugs are sold up to four (4) times the international reference prices. Branded innovator products, on the other hand, are sold up to a staggering twenty-two (22) times higher.
With the MDRP scheme, everyone can expect that medications would be at its most decent; preferably at its lowest to be able to cater everyone who need it. Of course, the severity of the illness or the conditions is also considered.
We need to impose the MDRP if we want better health and societal outcomes for Filipinos. Generic drugs are still sold up to four times the international reference prices whereas branded innovator products are sold up to 22 times higher, especially in private hospitals and pharmacies.”
Hopefully, the plans and the recommendations by the DOH of having a price reduction for 120 medications will be sooner than we expect it to be imposed.
As per Domingo, it is expected that around October 2019, the E.O. would be signed and issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Medication prices in the Philippines are higher
John Wong, a member of the Drug Price Advisory Committee, mentioned that the medications that were selected were based on the severity of the disease in terms of magnitude; the condition itself. More so, high price arbitrage when it is compared to different reference countries and the presence of competition.
In addition to that, he said that the cost of medications here in the Philippines are seen to be significantly more expensive if compared to neighboring countries in the whole Southeast Asia.
Are you part of the demographic who are expecting a price reduction for 120 medications? Do you wish for medicine prices to be lower for the benefit of everyone? Hopefully, the E.O. gets signed and issued so that the price reduction gets approved and applied sooner.