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GMA’s Dillemma: To Fight The Pharma Lobby VS The Cheaper Medicines Law

July 16, 2009

cheaper meds demos montage

What is the current brouhaha over the non implementation of the much-ballyhooed Cheaper Medicines Law (RA 9502) all about?

Minus all the legal gobbledegook and the denials of a supposed attempt to “bribe” Malacanang, it’s really about 50 multinational pharmaceutical imposing their will upon a sovereign government with a sworn constitutional duty to implement the laws of the land.

Sadly what we are witnessing is the government of the day being forced to to delay pegging  maximum retail prices for 22 medical formulations for such illnesses as hypertension and diabetes with the multinational pharma lobby threatening to pack up and leave. (Among the medicines subjected to MRP are anti-hypertensive, anti-thrombotic, anti-cholesterol, anti-diabetic, antibiotics/antibacterial, antineoplastic.)

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090716-215614/Palace-backtracks-on-issuing-cheap-meds-EO

WTF?

Between the government battling hostage-taking killer bandits now demanding amnesty and facing intense public opposition to its moves to amend the Constitution, is it now also buckling to the ‘sovereignty’ of the multinational drug firms?

From my humble layman’s point of view I feel enough is enough.

In the remaining days of her tenure Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should not allow the pharma kobble to drive another nail into the coffin of her nascent lameduck Presidency.

Assert your political will, Madame President.

Rally our fully capable drug firms to stand beside government in upholding the spirit and letter of the Cheaper Medicines Law.

Be reminded of this empowering provisions of Republic Act 9502:

(Section 93 of Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the
Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines)

“93.2. Where the public interest, in particular, national security, nutrition,
health or the development of other vital sectors of the national economy as
determined by the appropriate agency of the Government, so requires; or
“93.3. Where a judicial or administrative body has determined that the
manner of exploitation by the owner of the patent or his licensee is anticompetitive;
or
“93.4. In case of public non-commercial use of the patent by the patentee,
without satisfactory reason;
“93.5. If the patented invention is not being worked in the Philippines on a
commercial scale, although capable of being worked, without satisfactory
reason: Provided, That the importation of the patented article shall constitute
working or using the patent; (Secs. 34, 34-A, 34-B, R.A. No. 165a) and
“93.6. Where the demand for patented drugs and medicines is not being met
to an adequate extent and on reasonable terms, as determined by the
Secretary of the Department of Health.”
CHAPTER 3
DRUGS AND MEDICINES PRICE REGULATION
Sec. 17. Drugs and Medicines Price Regulation Authority of the President of
the Philippines. – The President of the Philippines, upon recommendation of
the Secretary of the Department of Health, shall have the power to impose
maximum retail prices over any or all drugs and medicines as enumerated in
Section 23.
The power to impose maximum retail prices over drugs and medicines shall
be exercised within such period of time as the situation may warrant as
determined by the President of the Philippines. No court, except the Supreme
Court of the Philippines, shall issue any temporary restraining order or
preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction that will
prevent the immediate execution of the exercise of this power of the President
of the Philippines.
Sec. 18. Drugs and Medicines Price Monitoring and Regulation Authority of
the Secretary of the Department of Health. – To implement the policies of this
Act under this Chapter, the Secretary of the Department of Health is hereby
authorized to establish and initiate a price monitoring and regulation system
for drugs and medicines within one hundred twenty (120) days after the
enactment of this Act. The Secretary of the Department of Health may also
create such bodies, consultative councils, from which advice may be sought in
the implementation of a drug or medicine price monitoring and regulation
policy. Such bodies or consultative councils created by the Secretary of the
Department of Health shall coordinate its
efforts together with other government agencies.
Sec. 19. Functions and Responsibilities of the Secretary of the Department of
Health. – Pursuant to Section 18 of this Act, the Secretary of the Department
of Health shall have the following powers: chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
(A) Power to Recommend the Maximum Retail Price of Drugs and Medicines
Subject to Price Regulation – (1) Upon application or motu proprio when the
public interest so requires, the Secretary of the Department of Health shall
have the power to determine the maximum retail prices of drugs and
medicines which shall be recommended to the President of the Philippines for
approval. In order that affordable prices of drugs and medicines from the
different manufacturers, importers, traders, distributors, wholesalers, or
retailers shall be made available to the public, the Secretary of the
Department of Health, as he/she may deem fit and after a proper
determination, shall have such approved maximum retail prices of drugs and
medicines published;

http://www.doh.gov.ph/ra/cheaper_drugs

Make no mistake, Mrs. President, even if current opinioin surveys saY 6 IN 10 Filipinos are not happy about how you are doing your job, the people will back you up 100 % against the multinational pharma lobby.

Do it, GMA.

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