Press Release
July 23, 2009


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today asked the US Congress to probe the unethical lobbying and unjust trade practices of American giant drug firm Pfizer Inc. to block the implementation of a Philippine law that would make quality medicines more affordable to the Filipino people.

The senator wrote separate letters to US Sen. John F. Kerry, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and US Rep. Howard L. Berman, chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, seeking their help in stopping Pfizer from using its millions to block the implementation of the Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines law (Republic Act No. 9502), which he said was in violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

"I hope that your good office can be of assistance in investigating unjust trade and marketing techniques, as well as unethical lobby practices, employed by multinational pharmaceutical companies, particularly Pfizer Inc. here in the Philippines," he said in his letter.

"I am looking forward to working hand in hand with your office in my endeavor to push for the full implementation of Republic Act No. 9502, thus making medicines in the country more accessible and affordable," he also wrote.

Roxas had also written US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, requesting for her help in the inquiry that he had earlier requested from the US Department of Justice and the US Department of Commerce into the unscrupulous lobbying activities of Pfizer, from when the Cheaper Medicines law was still under deliberations at the Philippine Congress up until now that the executive has began to implement it.

Aside from the US inquiries, the Visayan senator had likewise proposed a parallel investigation by his Senate trade and commerce committee into the unjust trade and marketing techniques employed by pharmaceutical firms, particularly Pfizer, to block the law.

The Senate panel would also look deeper into allegations that Pfizer country representatives allegedly attempted to bribe Malacañang officials in exchange for dropping a draft executive order that would impose price ceilings on 22 essential medicines.

"Dinala ko na sa Amerika ang laban nang sa gayon ay mas madali nating mapanagot ang Pfizer at iba pang drug companies na humaharang sa pagpapatupad sa batas para sa murang gamot (I have already brought the fight Pfizer and other drug companies to the United States so we can get justice faster and easier)," Roxas said.

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