Press Release
July 7, 2009


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today urged President Arroyo to put an end to multinational pharmaceutical companies' cheap marketing stunts by implementing the Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines law to its full extent.

In particular, the primary author of the landmark law said the President should already sign the executive order imposing a Maximum Retail Price (MRP) on the top 22 prescribed drugs in the country.

"Hihinto lang ang mga mapanlinlang na gimik ng mga drug companies kung mapatupad na nang lubos ang batas para sa murang gamot," he said.

"Kaya dapat huwag nang hintayin ng Pangulo na pumuti ang uwak bago niya pirmahan ang executive order para magpataw ng MRP at kalahatiin ang presyo ng gamot," he stressed.

"Prices of medicines should go down to fair and just levels, and not because drug companies want to look good. That is why the MRP needs to be implemented now," he added.

Roxas, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce, said the government should look into marketing gimmicks being employed by giant pharmaceutical companies--such as the issuance of membership-discount cards--that are tantamount to misleading the public.

"Dapat usisian ng gobyerno itong mga discount card at iba pang gimik ng mga drug companies. Kung niloloko lang nila ang publiko--halimbawa, may diskwento nga ang mga may membership card, pero may 'catch' naman na matatali sila sa branded na gamot--hindi na dapat umiral ang mga ito," he said.

"Saka lahat ba ng tao, mahirap man o mayaman, ay makikinabang sa mga ganitong gimik? Kung mga maykaya lang--dahil itong mga discount card ay makukuha lang sa mga mamahaling ospital--eh di panloloko lang talaga ito," he stressed.

He insisted that once the MRP takes effect, drug companies would be constrained to bring down the prices of their medicines to stay in competition with rival companies. This, he added, would benefit the millions of poor Filipinos who cannot afford very expensive medicines sold by the multinational companies.

Roxas noted the draft executive order on the MRP had been pending at the desk of President Arroyo since June 16, when the Department of Health transmitted the MRP list to the Office of the President.

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