Press Release
January 27, 2008


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said doctors should be allowed to prescribe branded medicines to patients but should also be required to write their generic equivalents in the prescription form.

Pimentel expressed support for a move to delete a provision in the House version of the Cheap Medicines Bill which makes it mandatory for doctors to prescribe only generic drugs.

"Doctors know by experience which drugs are potent and effective for curing specific diseases. So in my view, they should not be forced to prescribe only generic drugs," he said.

"Doctors should be free to prescribe branded medicines but they should also write their counterparts in generic form. What is important is the people are given the freedom of choice insofar as the right medicines are concerned."

Pimentel pointed out that the Generics Act of 1988 of which he is the principal author, encourages the prescription of both generic and branded medicines. He said the Generics Act was enacted into law to bring down the cost of medicines.

He expressed the hope that this suggested compromise will be adopted by the bicameral conference committee to avoid any deadlock over the Cheaper Medicines Bill which may unnecessarily delay its approval.

If doctors are limited to prescribing only generic drugs, Pimentel said the sales clerk in every drugstore will exercise a lot of discretion in disposing of the drugs over the counter even if he or she may not be a pharmacist.

He said the sales clerk is likely to recommend or favor any branded equivalent of the generic drug manufactured by certain pharmaceutical firms that give incentives to health professionals as part of their promotional program.

In effect, he said the discretion or judgement of the sales clerk will prevail over the doctor.

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