Price freeze on drugs, medical supplies imposed in areas affected by Taal unrest
Evacuees from towns affected by the eruption of Taal volcano rest at an evacuation center in Tanauan town, Batangas province south of Manila on January 14, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe
Price freeze on drugs, medical supplies imposed in areas affected by Taal unrest
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - January 15, 2020 - 10:56am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health imposed a price freeze on over 200 essential medicines and medical supplies to ensure their availability to thousands of individuals affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

Among the 218 items under the price cap are N95 masks, disposable masks, nebulizers, paracetamols, anti-histamines and antibiotics.

According to the memorandum signed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the price freeze will be implemented in “all areas affected by the volcano eruption.”

“Essential medicines have been identified as a basic necessity especially in times of natural calamities and man-made disasters that put the health and lives of Filipinos at risk because of unfavourable conditions that cause or aggravate disease which may lead to epidemics and massive death,” Duque said.

The price freeze will be in effect for the duration of the situation, unless lifted by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the memorandum, N95 masks must be sold for at most P105 only, while the disposable face mask must be sold for at most P8 only.

Several stores even in Metro Manila and north of the capital ran out of N95 face masks and ordinary surgical masks amid high demand due to ashfall from the erupting Taal Volcano.   

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier warned business against raising the prices of face masks and gas masks.

“DTI will not hesitate to file administrative and criminal charges against unscrupulous business entities and individuals who capitalize on the consumers’ urgent need for their own profit,” DTI said Monday.

A total of 12,486 families or 53,019 individuals in Batangas and Cavite have been affected since the volcano burst to life Sunday. Of the figure, 10,000 families or 43,681 persons are taking temporary shelter.

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