Press Release
May 5, 2008


Senator Mar Roxas said that other medical and therapeutic supplies--such as those for dialysis--could be covered by the Quality Affordable Medicines Law.

"Depende ito doon sa operationalization ng definition ng DOH na ilalagay nila sa IRR, masasakop din iyan sa price control, sa parallel importation at sa iba pang probisyon ng batas," he said.

The main author and sponsor of the law explained that the law's definition of drugs and medicines is flexible: referring to "any chemical compound or biological substance, other than food, intended for use in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of disease in humans or animals."

During the weekly Kapihan sa Manila forum, Roxas reminded the Department of Health (DOH) that it is up to the government to use the tools to lower the prices of drugs and medicines that are in the law.

"Higit pa rito sa batas ang political will. Ang kapangyarihan ay nandiyan na sa mga probisyon ng batas. Ngayon ay nasa execution at nasa implementation tayo, and it depends now on the executive branch of government," he said.

"Kasi, kung talagang importante ito, hindi lamang ito sa talumpati. Agad-agad na dadagdagan ang pondo ng parallel importation program ng DTI, o dadamihan ang mga botika sa mga barangay," he added.

Roxas also said that the DOH is authorized to create new offices or to reorganize its structure, as necessary to help it implement the law. He also urged DOH to immediately craft the IRR and set-up the appropriate mechanisms under BFAD in preparation for the law's implementation.

The Liberal Party President also said he will look at other means to lower the cost of dialysis treatment--including the removal of tariffs on the importation of such supplies.

"Baka ang problema ay hindi lang ang taripa, baka pati ang VAT na ipinapataw dito. Aalamin natin kung ano ang magagawa natin para maipababa natin ang mga sinisingil ng gobyerno na siyang nagpapadagdag sa gastos sa essential procedure na ito," he said.

Hemodialysis costs roughly P3,000 per session in government institutions, and up to P15,000 to P25,000 in private hospitals. Depending on the ailment, a patient may be required to have up to three sessions per week.

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