Press Release
November 17, 2022

Highlights of the sponsorship of the DOH budget
 Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senior Vice Chairperson, Finance Committee

Note: responding to the questions of Senator Raffy Tulfo


Mr President, while the DOH is putting together some of the information that his honor requests, may I just put on record, in response also to his question that the practice is that when there are medicines that are about to expire, the [DOH has] an agreement with the suppliers to exchange this.

So technically, for most, and I will verify with the Secretary, for most medicines, hindi ito tapon sa atin kasi papalitan naman po ng supplier yan. I've also verified this... sorry, for lack of a better example... the Mayor of Taguig City, my sister-in-law, na ganun din ang practice nila. Yung napo-procure nilang medicine, those that are about to expire, pinapalitan po ng supplier.

Further, DOH states that... kapag nakita nilang slow-moving ang particular medicine, they transfer them to the highly burdened areas where it is normally consumed faster. So they are now in the process of [building] warehouses around the Philippines to reduce distribution delays.


During the pandemic, there were really supply chain issues. And for that reason, there were many instances where yung medicines were either not delivered where they're needed, and there are also situations where you cannot see that it is an overdelivery because depending on the medicine, kung hindi lumalabas ng bahay ang senior citizen hindi pumupunta sa ospital, sabihin mo nang cancer drugs yun, hindi nila naa-avail, so talagang nangyari po sa atin yan during the pandemic.

But now po, almost back to normal, back to business, to the usual practices. There are hardly any medicines that are expiring precisely because of this practice now in place that the suppliers exchange this and this is written in every contract now that they are entering in with new suppliers. So I believe that is a good thing, kasi dinatnan ko din po ang sitwasyon na andaming natatambak na drugs.


To give more details, yung medicines na near expiry were actually pulled out by the supplier and they were issued credit memos. This information was submitted to his honor's office after the hearing.


We note his honor's concern. Like we explained during the interpellation of the Deputy Minority Floor Leader, it is the job of DOH to ensure that the medicines needed are available. But there are instances, and let's just use COVID as an example... inasmuch as gusto nila lahat [ng target population ay] magpa-booster, ang uptake ng booster shot was not as high as we would want. But that is their duty to have that stock on hand.

So with the upcoming.. I hope it will not be an epidemic... dito sa [warning on] measles, polio outbreak, WHO has predicted and sadly the Philippines is on top of the list dahil napakaraming batang Pilipino na hindi nakakuha ng kanilang regular shots. Kailangan po regular sila [supply]. When the time would come na hindi pa rin nagamit yun, it was still their job to have those stocks available. What they could have done, and what they are aware of because they gave me a list of things that they are doing to improve the consumption of medicines and reduce the unused is to increase the campaign for these vaccinations. I am talking about vaccinations.

Iba naman ho ang kaso ng mga... well the example again was HIV medication. During the pandemic, maraming hindi kumuha ng kanilang medication so dineliver na nila yun house-to-house. So his honor's concern is very valid, but the reality is, when they say near expiration, within let's say 6 months... may 24 months, 36 months. Ang anim na buwan mamu-move pa nila yun o alam nila based on practice magagamit. Kaya yung sinabi ko rin po kay Deputy Minority Floor Leader yung ini-improve din nila is inventory management and reporting para talagang namu-move ang drugs in areas where they are most needed. But it's impossible to predict to the exact number kasi hindi mo rin naman sure kung sino ang papasok na next patient. But meron silang estimates and that's why they have to move them around fast. But his honor's concern is very well taken.

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