Senator Risa Hontiveros wants the Department of Health (DoH) to identify the pharmaceutical firms who were allegedly lobbying against the move to lower the price of at least 120 medicines.
Apparently, some drug firms do not want to lower the price of 120 drugs and medicines for common diseases and conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and different types of cancer.
Hontiveros, who was co-author of the Cheaper Medicines Law when she was still member of the House of Representatives, raised this issue on Tuesday during the plenary deliberation of the DoH’s budget for 2020.
She said that there is reportedly a strong lobby from several pharmaceutical companies opposing the proposed use of government’s regulatory powers under the Cheaper Medicines Act (RA 9502) to lower the “unfair and anti-poor” prices of much-needed medicines nationwide.
Hontiveros, said that if reports were true, the firms should be named and subsequently queried why they are opposing the initiative to lower the prices of medicines and why their medicines are more expensive than their international reference prices (IRP).
“Nanawagan ako sa DOH na pangalanan ang mga pharmaceutical companies na mas inuuna pa ang kanilang malalaking tubo at kita kaysa sa buhay at kalusugan ng mamamayan,” she said.
Sa panahon na kaliwa’t kanan ang epidemiya at mga nagkakasakit, ang presyo ng gamot ay hindi dapat dagdag-pasakit,” Hontiveros said.
It was reported that an association of pharmaceutical companies dismissed the proposal to impose Maximum Drug Retail Prices (MDRP) on 120 medicines for various illnesses like hypertension, asthma, and diabetes as “contentious and counterproductive.”
The companies said that they will talk to the DOH “so that government does not have to resort to price control.”