Press Release
August 13, 2009

Loren urges DOH to set up drug price watch hotline

Senator Loren Legarda urged today the Department of Health (DOH) to set up a permanent telephone hot line which the public can call to report drug stores that would not abide with the medicine price cut order which would take effect on August 15.

"The DOH wants drug stores to report erring suppliers who would not slash the prices of medicines included in the price cut to be effected under the Cheaper Medicines Act," said Loren, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography.

"But consumers themselves must report erring drugstores to the DOH and this can be facilitated by the DOH setting up a hotline to receive complaints. Drug stores can also call the hotline to report erring suppliers," she said.

Meanwhile, Loren opposed a proposal by the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines for the government to delay the implementation of the price cuts for six months so they can dispose of their remaining stocks.

"Some private hospitals had threatened to go on a holiday if their demand is not meant. The hospital business has a social dimension. I'd like to remind the concerned hospitals of the insensitivity of such course of action as they would then be turning their backs on their patients."

The senator said that the hospital holiday being bandied about runs against the social responsibility that they oath to deliver.

Loren said that in view of the concerns of private hospitals on disposing their remaining stocks, she said they adopt the inventory system to be used by the Philippine Healthcare Association of the Philippines in ensuring that drugstores get rebates from suppliers for their pre-price cut stocks.

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