Press Release
November 18, 2006


Amid the public uproar over high-priced, patent-protected medicines, Senate President Manny Villar, President of Nacionalista Party, is advocating for an increase in the allotment for medicine procurement under the 2007 proposed budget of the Department of Health (DOH).

Senate President Villar lamented that only less than a billion pesos is being earmarked for the drug procurement program of the DOH next year.

One word aptly describes this: anemic, Villar said.

Under the proposed Health budget, some P319 million would be allotted for the purchase of medicines, and another P628 million for vaccines, or a total of P947 million.

The amount will be used to stock pharmacies in 69 DOH-run hospitals, mostly tertiary and regional hospitals, with medicines; purchase vaccines for the governments mass immunization program; and, supply 9,400 Botika ng Barangay outlets with 21 commonly used over-the-counter drugs at half the normal price.

The vaccines to be purchased include some P150.8 million worth of anti-Hepatitis B to stem the rise in cases of this type of liver disease.

Villar lamented that the Health departments budget for medicines and vaccines would translate to a per capita annual budget of a measly P11.

Villar said the government has no choice but to stock up on medicines in public hospitals, given the fact that seven out of 10 Filipinos run to them for medical help.

If people dont have the money to buy food, then how much more for medicines? Villar asked.

In batting for a higher medicine budget for the DOH, Villar said the better-than-projected fiscal performance of the government has freed some funds for social expenditures.

If they say that the government will generate savings of P25 billion this year, then we should allot a certain part of this for medicines.

The DOHs proposed 2007 budget stands at P11.4 billion and P15.5 billion if the budgets of four Quezon City-based specialty hospitals- Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center, Kidney Institute and the Philippine Childrens Medical Center- and four attached agencies are included.

Total government spending for the Health sector next year is P24 billion, if health-related expenditures by local governments, PhilHealth, and the Armed Forces, which operate hospitals, are factored in.

News Latest News Feed