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LKI 58th Press Statement
DECEMBER 5, 2019
LABAN KONSYUMER CALLS “ ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” AND DEMANDS DRUG COMPANIES TO PROVIDE MEDICINES AT AFFORDABLE PRICES AND ACCESSIBLE TO PATIENTS
In light of the recent meeting with Secretary Francisco Duque of the Department of Health , consumer group Laban Konsyumer Inc. raised alarm over the high prices of medicines. The group claimed that what the Drug Companies wanted to happen was a pooled bidding by the government and they will offer lower prices in Department of Health hospitals only, thus limiting the reach of cheaper medicines to consumers and patients who truly need it from around the country at retail drug stores .
In their public statement, the group said “the impact to patients will be doubtful, especially those availing in drugstores and private hospitals. Consumers right now are suffering from high drug prices. We need to start thinking less about profits, and more about the health and well-being of the Filipinos. The big pharma companies should not hold hostage their drugs by raising prices, to an even higher mark than of those in neighboring countries. The Philippines is still developing, meaning that many consumers still do not have high enough incomes to currently purchase or buy the better medicines on the market. Our medicine industry needs to work for more affordability and accessibility.”
LKI President Vic Dimagiba explained that the “treatment cost of cancer, kidney disease and some hypertension/diabetes drugs is overly costly, and the price range reaches too high an amount. This is to the detriment of many poor, suffering and sick Filipino consumers and patients. It is the lack of price control that is hurting patients. It is high drug prices hurting consumers and patients. We cannot allow this to go on any further. Lives are on the line as speak, every second of the day, and to put them at risk just for the sake of making profit is inexcusable.”
The group also pointed out that “there is recent MDRP data released to the public recently in a hearing that shows how prices are skyrocketing, and thus making medicine inaccessible to the everyday, normal Filipino consumer. No media campaign against the imposition of price control for medicine should succeed “.
Dimagiba said that the DOH was on the right track when it wanted to place 120 medicines under Maximum Drug Retail Price (MDRP), as “these are medicines for leading diseases and catastrophic conditions in the Philippines such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases and cancer. But the PHAP countered this saying that drug companies will withdraw, and that the industry will lose money. But the priority should be securing adequate amount of quality medicine and making it viable for consumers, especially those marginalized and poor who may not have the means to buy expensive drugs.”
LKI explained “contrary to what PHAP is saying that price control on medicine is detrimental to patients, the very fact that price control will be able to lower the costs of much-needed medicine means that patients will enjoy the benefits of these items and products to a higher degree, granting and ensuring their well-being, health, safety and longer lives.”
Dimagiba concluded by declaring “we are here to elevate patient stories in the fight against the big pharmacies, because as a patient-run organization, we know all too well that drugs don’t work if people cannot afford them. Filipino consumers are all patients and consumers of medical drugs. We should stand up against the big pharmacy companies and force them to make their products cheaper for the poor and needy. While Sec. Duque and PHAP continue to trade barbs, LKI hopes that the issue may be resolved swiftly so that next year, we can see a brighter and healthier future for our fellow Filipino brothers and sisters.”
LKI stated “our price watch reports found out just how out-of-reach prescription drug prices are for American families. Enough is enough! We need to pass legislation now to stop greed and ensure that prescription drugs are affordable and accessible. It is a worrying and alarming sign when the brand name price is multiple times higher than the average generic price of prescription drugs. DOH commissioned studies on MDRP are being misquoted by PHAP. The bottom line is that the study recommended that DOH should study more drugs to be added to the MDRP list and to consult patients and healthcare providers.”
The group believes that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is in the right for slamming pharm companies and firms for only thinking of their profits after they warned that putting a price a maximum price on 120 medicines would supposedly force manufacturers not to introduce new drugs in the country and even pull out existing ones. LKI explains that this could not be further from the true case and scenario. It is unconscionable for a developing country like the Philippines to have medicines that are costlier than those in high-income countries. PHAP just wants to protect their profitability.
For any inquiries or concerns, you may reach LKI President Vic Dimagiba at 0917-812-5546. Visit our updated website at www.labankonsyumer.com and like us on Facebook and Twitter. Send any inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org