Press Release
February 23, 2010

'Stick to the point' - Loren tells LP on drugs issue

"The Cheaper Medicines Law has no teeth. That's the main point," Nacionalista Party vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda in reply to a Liberal Party statement that she was accusing her rival Mar Roxas of grabbing credit for the measure.

"As to the authorship of the bill, that's secondary," she added. "If, as (Rep. Lorenzo "Erin") Tanada pointed out that nobody can claim sole authorship of the measure, why then do the ads about the law make it appear that Roxas was the major proponent of it?"

"No one can claim sole authorship of the bill," Rep. Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada, LP spokesman, was quoted in the Monday issue of the Manila Bulletin as saying.

She stressed that it was Iloilo Vice Governor Rex Suplico and Rep. Ferjenel Biron, who were the ones who took exception about the authorship of the bill, having been among the sponsors of the House version of the bill, not her.

"At any rate, it's better to ask Suplico and Biron about the authorship issue," she said. "As they said, House records would show that Roxas watered down the bill by causing a provision that would in effect impose a condition on the price regulation of drugs when it granted the secretary of health its prior determination, not to mention that the original 1,500 formulations are now down to 22. And that's my point. As the law stands now it's more anti-poor because the poor still don't have access to cheaper drugs."

Thus, she said she did not have to prove anything about the issue.

"Anyone can check the records and review the issue in the papers," she said. "Again my point is not the credit per se. The point is: Why take credit for a law that does not deliver what it's supposed to?"

"Why can't these people stick to the point?" she said. "That's why I've been calling for a debate among the vice presidential candidates, so the people can judge for themselves who has a good grasp of the issues. It's not about personalities."

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