MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Monday, February 17, an executive order that would regulate the prices of certain drugs and medicines.
Executive Order (EO) No. 104 or “Improving Access to Healthcare Through the Regulation of Prices in the Retail of Drugs and Medicines” imposes price regulation through a maximum retail price (MRP), a maximum wholesale price (MWP), or both on at least 86 drug molecules or 133 drug formulas, selected based on a set of criteria.
According to the EO, the MRP will be imposed on “all public and private retail outlets, including drugstores, hospitals, and hospital pharmacies, health maintenance organizations, convenience stores and supermarkets, and the like.”
The MWP, meanwhile, will be imposed on “all manufacturers, wholesalers, traders, distributors, and the like.”
“No public or private entity shall be allowed to sell, reimburse, or demand from the public or patients payment in an amount higher than the MRP or MWP, as the case may be,” the EO said.
The EO takes effect immediately after publication on the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.
According to the EO, existing inventory stock will be allowed to be disposed of at prevailing prices within a “non-extendable” period of 90 days from the effectivity of the order.
Within 30 days of the EO, a technical working group composed of representatives from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will convene and review the prices of the remaining 36 drug molecules or 72 drug formulas.
The list of drugs subject to the MRP and MWP will be regularly reviewed by the DOH, in consultation with the DTI, within 6 months from the effectivity of the EO, and every 6 months thereafter.
Below is the list of drugs and medicines covered by the EO:
On Tuesday, February 18, Senator Risa Hontiveros praised Duterte’s EO as “a healthy exercise of regulatory powers,” noting that it had been more than a decade since this power was used by the Chief Executive.
“The signing of this EO prioritized people’s welfare over the lobbying of big pharma,” said Hontiveros, who authored the Cheaper Medicines Law when she was a party-list representative in 2008.
She also said the EO “is a step in the right direction to realize universal healthcare” because it “will improve access of Filipinos to essential medicines and reduce the cost of out-of-pocket expenses.” – Jee Y. Geronimo/Rappler.com
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