Press Release
April 5, 2010


Sen. Mar Roxas today called on the Department of Health to ensure full compliance by pharmacies nationwide to the discounted rates of medicines included in the second list of essential drugs subject to government price limitations.

Roxas, primary author of the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act, called the attention of Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral to reports that drugstores have yet to sell medicines covered by the second Government-Mediated Access Price (GMAP) list.

"Naging abala tayong lahat sa pagninilay-nilay nitong nakaraang Semana Santa ngunit ngayon ay balik-trabaho na tayo. Inaasahan nating ngayon ay mapagtutuunan na ng pansin ng DOH ang pagpapatupad ng batas," said Roxas, the Liberal Party vice presidential race frontrunner.

The implementation of the second GMAP discounts was supposed to take effect last March 31. News reports indicated, however, that drugstores nationwide continue to sell the covered medicines in their old retail prices.

Cabral has vowed to intensify the health department's implementation of the Cheaper Medicines law, particularly the compliance of drugstores all over the country to government-imposed and government-mediated price ceilings on essential medicines.

Cabral had sent to President Arroyo the second list of GMAP drugs - which includes 33 vital drugs and 5 medical devices - for inclusion to the inventory of medicines subject to government price mediation.

Among those included in the new list are medicines for bladder and prostate disorders, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-cancer, anti-asthma, anti-coagulant, anti-glaucoma, anti-hepatitis B, antibiotics and kidney failure maintenance.

Roxas, as co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Quality and Affordable Medicines, has been pushing for the inclusion of all essential medicines in the GMAP and Maximum Retail Price (MRP) list.

President Arroyo last year signed Executive Order No. 821, which imposed price cuts on five essential medicines: Amlodipine (anti-hypertensive), Atorvastatin (anti-cholesterol), Azithromycin (anti-biotic, anti-bacterial), Cytarabine (anti-cancer) and Doxorubicin (anti-cancer). The prices of 16 other essential drugs were also slashed under EO 821 under the voluntary price reduction system.

Prices of around 200 drug formulations have been slashed due to the Cheaper Medicines law. Roxas promised more medicines would be covered by the GMAP under his and Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Noynoy Aquino's administration.

"Bababa pa nang husto ang presyo ng gamot kung tapat at tuwid ang pamamahala. Ipapatupad ng gobyernong Aquino-Roxas ang lahat ng probisyon ng Cheaper Medicines Law," he said.

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