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Business

Lawmaker pushes bill on imports of cheap drugs

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - An administration lawmaker is seeking the speedy approval of the measure allowing the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC) to import low-priced medicines to provide Filipinos greater access to affordable medication.

Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, author of House Bill 6114 and vice chairperson of the House committee on trade and industry, said people especially those in the rural areas could not afford medicines due to poverty.

“Patients die not because of absence of medicines but because they cannot afford to buy medicines sitting idly in the cabinets of drugstores,” Tambunting said.

The bill seeks to amend Executive Order 442, which designated the PITC as the lead agency to make quality medicines available, affordable and accessible to the greater masses of Filipinos.

He urged Congress to increase the annual budget of PITC so it can import low-priced medicines in huge volumes.

He said the budget of the PITC to procure medicines is minuscule compared to the multibillion pharmaceutical markets in the Philippines, majority of which is controlled by multinational companies.

“There is a great need to strengthen the mandate of PITC as well as resuscitate its dwindling fund by infusing substantial amount from the national budget so that the PITC will be able to import cheap medicines that can be distributed to local destinations,” Tambunting said.

He said the bill allows the PITC to import low priced medicines of the same quality or prescriptions from reputable and reliable suppliers and local sourcing of medicines using as basic component indigenous or endemic materials prevalent in the Philippines.

 

ACIRC

ATILDE

CITY REP

EXECUTIVE ORDER

GUS TAMBUNTING

HOUSE BILL

IMPORT

MEDICINES

PHILIPPINE INTERNATIONAL TRADING CORP

PITC

TAMBUNTING

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