Press Release
October 29, 2009


Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. must stop bullying the retail drugstore industry and leave them out of its patent war with local company United Laboratories over the sale of an anti-cholesterol drug, Senator Mar Roxas said today.

Pursuing his advocacy to put cheaper medicines within reach of poor Filipinos in drugstores nationwide, Roxas said retail drugstores are just complying with the spirit of the Universally Accessible Cheaper Quality Medicines Act of 2009 or Republic Act No. 9502, which he authored, and should not be pressured by Pfizer into stopping their sale of Unilab's Avamax.

Pfizer has warned retail drugstores nationwide they face legal sanctions if they won't stop selling Avamax, Unilab's cheaper version of Pfizer's anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium).

Pfizer claims exclusive distribution rights over the sale of the drug, which it said was still under patent with Warner Lambert, a company bought by Pfizer in 2004.

Taking the cudgels for drugstores that pursue selling of the cheaper Avamax, Roxas said: "I believe that retail drugstores should not be dragged into this controversy, especially since they only desire to make cheaper quality medicines available to our people."

He assured drugstores of his support if they continue to sell Unilab's Avamax. "Together, we should not be intimidated or cowed by Pfizer's bullying tactics," he stressed.

The Visayan senator gave the assurance of support in separate letters to Watsons Personal Care Stores (Phils.) Inc. President Robert Sun, Rose Pharmacy Inc. President Rosario Lim, Mercury Drug Corporation President Vivian Que-Azcona and Drugstore Association of the Philippines (DSAP) President Josephine Inocencio.

He also sought their formal position on the issue.

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