Press Release
February 18, 2020


"A healthy exercise of regulatory powers!"

This was the remark of Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday welcoming Executive Order No. 104 [EO 104] signed by President Rodrigo Duterte that sets a maximum retail price on essential medicines for hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

"The President's exercise of price control and regulatory powers over drugs and medicines under the Cheaper Medicines Law is laudable," Hontiveros, who authored the said law or Republic Act No. 9502 as Akbayan Partylist Representative in 2008, said.

It can also be recalled that Hontiveros delivered a privilege speech in the Senate in November last year, urging the President to exercise said regulatory powers.

More than a decade

The Senator said that the Executive's regulatory powers to impose a price cap on essential medicines have not been exercised for more than a decade. "The President was given authority by the law to act on recommendations by the Department of Health [DOH]," Hontiveros explained.

"Isang dekada na ang nakalipas mula noong huli nating nagamit ang mandatong ito," she furthered. "The signing of this EO prioritized people's welfare over the lobbying of big pharma," she also said.

Realization of universal healthcare

Hontiveros also remarked that Malacañang's EO "is a step in the right direction to realize universal healthcare."

"It will improve access of Filipinos to essential medicines and reduce the cost of out-of-pocket expenses," Hontiveros added, noting that nearly half or 41% of all healthcare spending in the Philippines goes to pharmaceutical products, compared to other low-income countries.

Hontiveros coauthored the Universal Healthcare also signed into law by the President last year.

"Kapag abot-kaya ang gamot, mas maaalagaan ang mga mahal natin sa buhay," she concluded.

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