Espinoza: Med prescription and face mask

·3 min read

I am at a loss for words over the refusal of a pharmacy attendant to dispense a medicine duly prescribed by a medical practitioner because the prescription was dated December 2021, but it’s still unused. The drugstore lady attendant reasoned that they have a policy not to sell medicines if the prescription is not on date or near the date of purchase. This pharmacy is inside a supermarket.

I tried to search for the law or regulations from the Department of Health and even on the Law on Pharmacy, but I haven’t come across such a regulation that drugstores should only dispense medicine with on-date prescription. Neither have I read a regulation that dispensing medicines using an out-of-date prescription, or not close to the date of purchase, would make the pharmacies liable for any malpractice.

I could just imagine the angst of a senior citizen or a person with disability (PWD) if he/she was the one buying the medication using an unused med prescription that was issued a month before purchase at this said drugstore. Pardon me if I missed reading or knowing a regulation on this matter that drugstores impose on their customers. If there is none, I believe it behooves upon the Department of Health to issue a clear and definitive regulation to avoid a misunderstanding on this matter.

I posted this case on social media and the reaction of my friends was not favorable to the pharmacy. A friend even said that’s one of the modus of some drugstores to turn down purchases by seniors and PWDs even with a prescription as a way of circumventing the law on discount for seniors and PWDs.

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Newly reelected Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia is again in a tight spot when she issued Executive Order (EO) 16 on June 8, 2022 that requires the wearing of face masks only in closed and/or air-conditioned spaces. But in well-ventilated and open spaces, the wearing of a face mask would only be optional.

However, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was not pleased with the governor’s EO 16 and it would ask the feisty governor to amend her EO on the wearing of face masks to align with the regulations issued by the IATF, which is chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the DILG would not recognize the EO. He even ordered the police to continue to “confront, apprehend and arrest” all violators of minimum public health standards, including the wearing of face masks in public places.

But Governor Gwen got the support of Sen. Koko Pimentel. “Encourage wearing of mask, ipaalala sa mga tao na magsuot nito indoors pero sa labas na may fresh air, may circulation ng hangin, sana payagan nang maging optional ang pagsusuot ng face mask,” said Pimentel in a radio dzBB interview. Senator-elect Robin Padilla also supports the governor.

Despite the threat of being issued a show cause order by the DILG, Governor Garcia stood her ground on her EO that she wants the Provincial Board to pass an ordinance to make it a law for the province. But the provincial board, for lack of quorum on Monday, June 13, 2022 was not able to pass the ordinance that she had certified as urgent.

The governor’s EO 16 could be misunderstood by the hard asses, who did not comply with the mask mandate even during the time that we’re on Alert Level 3. In fact, I still saw some people in the city without face masks in crowded places. But the governor’s EO 16, for me, is very practical since I don’t wear one when I’m alone in an open space and outdoors and when I’m driving my car.

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