Press Release
September 6, 2008

In observance of generics awareness month

Dismayed by the weak enforcement of the Generics Drug Act, Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for strict implementation of the two-decade old law which he authored to provide greater access to safe and affordable medicine.

"The Generics Law, which was enacted in 1992, intended to bring down the prices of drugs in the country, unfortunately, the purpose to introduce generics as competition to brand-named drugs has not been achieved up to this time, he lamented.

Angara underscored the need to increase public awareness on the availability of generic medicines program of the government. "There is a wrong assumption that cheaper generic drugs are less effective and even harmful."

Citing a survey that generics only account for 10 percent of medicine sales in the Philippines, Angara made clear that the generic drugs are as effective as branded drugs since they contain scientifically-and-internationally recognized active ingredients determined by the Bureau of Food and Drugs and the Department of Health.

He also noted that there is a very small number of Filipinos who have regular access to medicines, considering the high cost of medicines. Generic drugs have been helpful in getting more people access to lifesaving drugs, Angara pointed out.

"Some 70 percent of 85 million Filipinos today have no regular access to medicines. But because of generic drugs, Filipinos can secure lifesaving drugs which are sold at cheaper and affordable prices," he said.

Under the Generics Act of 1988, physicians are required to indicate the generic names of all drugs prescribed whether through a personal prescription pad or a doctor's order sheet in the hospital chart. It is required that generic names of all drugs must always be written first before a brand name which is optional and placed in parenthesis.

Said Act also enables adequate supply of drugs with generic names at the lowest possible cost and endeavor to make them available for free to indigent patients; and likewise, it encourages the extensive use of drugs with generic names through a rational system of procurement and distribution.

For violation of the Generics Act, the Secretary of the Department of Health shall have the authority to impose administrative sanctions such as suspension or cancellation of license to operate or recommend suspension of license to practice profession to the Professional Regulation Commission as the case may be.

Angara has made the enhanced delivery of health services one of his priority concerns since 1987 when he won his first of three terms to the Senate. Aside from the Philhealth law, he also authored the Generics Act, the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, the Rooming-in and Breastfeeding Act of 1992, the Organ Donation Act, and the creation of the National Institute of Health for the promotion of health research and development.

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