MAXIMUM DRUG RETAIL PRICE

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After long and tedious battles with multinationals for years, the University

Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 (Republic Act No. 9502) was signed into law in April 2008 and it meant an expected price reduction of medicines in the Philippines. One of its most salient provisions is giving the President the power to set the price ceilings on various drugs, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Health. And on August 15, 2009, it is time for the public to reap, as a 50% price reduction took effect in 38 drug molecules (72 drug preparations) or medicines against hypertension, diabetes, influenza, hypercholesterolemia, cancer, arthritis, goiter, allergies and infections. This has been termed as the Maximum Drug Retail Price or MDRP.

Of course, the MDRP implementation was confronted with hesitations and objections. Small and medium-sized drug outlets with manual systems, except those in front or near hospitals, were given until September 15 to comply. Pharmaceutical companies cautioned the government against imposing price ceiling on some medicines, saying it might lead to the easing out of the Philippines on the list of priority countries that will get the newly released medicines. The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines threatened to hold “hospital holidays” and increase other hospital fees to cope with loss of income because of the cut in drug prices.

But then, Mother Nature intervened. The devastating typhoons came and the bickering stopped (momentarily?1?).

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