MANILA, June 7, 2011â€”Itâ€™s a total failure. This was the description of militant doctors from the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) about the Republic Act No. 9502, also known as Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, since most of the Filipinos still cannot buy essential medicines because they remain costly.
Citing a 2009-study published by the Health Action Information Network (HAIN), HEAD secretary general Dr. Geneve Rivera said that essential branded medicines remain unaffordable, while the cheaper generic brandsâ€”when given at a private medical facilityâ€”also become costly for a worker who is not receiving a minimum wage.
â€œOn the other hand, treatment courses using generic medicines in public facilities are generally affordable based on the salary of the lowest paid government worker. But, many Filipinos earn less than this wage and that managing an illness entails other costs that may eventually render even the lowest-cost treatments unaffordable, according to HAINâ€™s study,â€ the lady doctor said.
Rivera said that only by weakening the influence of the â€˜monopolyâ€™ of transnational pharmaceutical companies in drug pricing in the Philippines that essential medicines and other pharmaceutical products can become affordable.
HEAD believes that essential steps in establishing a national, a truly Filipino drug industry must be undertaken.
â€œWhile the immediate goal is to put an end to the monopoly pricing that has kept our people captive for decades, the more long-term goal is to institutionalize fundamental changes in the entire drug industry because this is the only way to ensure affordable and accessible medicine,â€ Rivera said. (Noel Sales Barcelona)