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Pharma wants bigger budget for UHC

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - October 14, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The pharmaceutical industry wants a higher budget for the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law to cover cost of medicines for poor patients.

While expressing support for the Department of Health (DOH)’s efforts to reduce cost of medicines, the  Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) said the endeavor is not enough.

PHAP president Teodoro Padilla said they would seek a meeting with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to harmonize their efforts to lower medicine prices in the country.

“We hope to discuss existing high-impact patient assistance programs by individual PHAP members that give free screening and diagnostic tests, education and counseling and special medicine pricing for patients to lower total treatment cost,” Padilla said in a statement.

He added that the PHAP shares the same objective with the DOH to lower medicine prices and make health care more accessible to all Filipinos.

“We are reaching out to the government as a partner so that it does not have to resort to price control which could be contentious and counterproductive as other countries had found out,” Padilla said.

“We can work together, achieve exactly the same or better objectives, and sustain it over the long haul,” he added.

Padilla, however, said lowering cost of medicine is not enough because the poor cannot fully benefit from it.

Citing a study on the impact of the first round of the maximum retail price (MRP) in 2009, Padilla said the poor did not fully benefit from it.

Padilla said strong health insurance systems are needed to cover for the medicine and health care expenses that would have been taken from the family’s savings.

“If more resources are allocated for the health of the people, the poor will benefit which is the essence of universal health care,” he pointed out.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE LAW
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