Press Release
June 26, 2009


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today called for a tight watch on the supply and prices of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu as he called on President Arroyo to place the drug under price control as provided in the Cheaper Medicines Law.

At the same time, Roxas urged the Department of Health to exercise balance between transparency in data and statistics and making chilling public statements on the extent of coverage of the A(H1N1) flu virus.

"We need to keep a tight watch on the price of Tamiflu in view of reports that the price of this drug has tripled in the past few days as demand rose amid public concern over the spread of the A(H1N1) flu," the Visayan senator said.

"Nagbabantay ang buong bayan laban dito sa A(H1N1) virus na ito. Mahalagang malaman nila ang lahat ng impormasyong makatutulong sa kanila upang makaiwas sa sakit na ito," he also said.

The DOH has been castigated for keeping confidential from the leadership of the House of Representatives information on the country's first A(H1N1)-related casualty, who turned out to be an employee from the lower chamber. Secretary Francisco Duque had claimed the secrecy was part of the department's standard operating procedure in conducting contact tracing of A(H1N1) cases.

Duque also triggered public panic with his prognosis that about 22.5 million Filipinos could be afflicted with the A(H1N1) flu virus. The DOH has reported that the number of A(H1N1) cases in the country has reached 727 as of Thursday, of which 536 have already recovered.

"The only ones panicking are those in government kasi sa totoo lang, wala silang master plan kung paanong haharapin ang problemang ito. Maliban pa dun, naka-AWOL (absence without leave) ang kanilang boss," Roxas said.

At the same time, the Visayan senator reiterated the need to include anti-flu drugs like Tamiflu (Generic name: Oseltamivir) in the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) list of the DOH, which is now awaiting the approval of President Arroyo. Tamiflu is supposed to cost P150 per capsule in drugstores, but reports claimed its price has tripled especially in private clinics.

"Magtulungan tayo. Kapit-kamay, alam kong kaya nating labanan ang sakit na ito," Roxas said.

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