87 drugs' prices to decrease in May

THE prices of medicine for hypertension, diabetes, heart illness, chronic lung disease and major kinds of cancer will be cut by up to 58 percent on May 18, 2020.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) 104, which aims to improve access to healthcare by regulating the prices of drugs. The order covers 87 types of medicine that are currently expensive.

Also covered by EO 104 are the expensive drugs that treat chronic renal disease, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis.

The President’s executive order details the government-set maximum wholesale price (MWP) and maximum retail price (MRP) of the 87 “drug molecules” or 133 drug formulas.

One of the anti-diabetic drugs included in the price cap is insulin aspart. Its prices are set at P327.23 (MWP) and P424.04 (MRP).

Department of Health (DOH) 7 pharmacist Lourdes Maratas said the executive order is scheduled to take effect on May 18, or 90 days after Duterte issued the executive order last Feb. 17.

She said the implementation of EO 104 will push through even while they are waiting for the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations.

Most of the drugs listed in the executive order are in generic formulation.

However, the pharmaceutical firms that produce branded drugs with the same formulas have to follow the price set for the generic formulas.

Maratas said pharmacies must display posters printed with the names of the drugs and their corresponding prices on May 18.

She further said senior citizens and persons with disability can still ask for discounts on the medicine included in this list.

To ensure that private and government-run pharmacies will follow the executive order, the DOH 7 will monitor them with the help of the Department of Trade and Industry 7 and Food and Drug Administration 7.

Based on the November 2019 results of the Ulat ng Bayan (Report of the Nation) survey conducted by Pulse Asia, 99 percent of Filipinos do not buy all the drugs prescribed by their doctors because they are expensive. Pulse Asia further reported that 71 percent of Filipinos spend P1,000 for their monthly maintenance medicine, while 24 percent are willing to spend P5,000 for the same purpose.

Below is the list of drugs covered by President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order 104 or the "Improving Access to Healthcare Through the Regulation of Prices in the Retail of Drugs and Medicines".