P.O. Box 1161, QCCPO, NCR, Philippines 1100
Cell No. : +63 917-812-5546
Email : email@example.com
Facebook: Laban Konsyumer Inc.
Website : www.labankonsyumer.com
DECEMBER 12, 2019
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Thru: The Executive Secretary
Atty. Salvador C. Medialdea
The Laban Konsyumer Inc. or LKI is a non-stock and nonprofit consumer advocacy group organized under Philippine laws, is a registered consumer organization of the Department of Trade and Industry under CPAB Recognition No. 2019 -0001 and a full term member of the Consumers International under Membership No. F-3058.
On behalf of patients /consumers, we respectfully request the President to sign and issue the Executive Order at the soonest time that shall implement the Maximum Drug Retail Price or MDRP which added more than 120 medicines at lower prices.
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.
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.
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.
Sir, 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 drug industry 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.
Mr. President, we are here to elevate patient stories in the fight against the big pharmacies, because as a consumer -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 drug industry 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.
The group believes that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is in the right path 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.
We hope for the President’s approval of the Executive Order in the soonest time.
Thank you very much.
Very truly yours,
Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, AB, LLB, LLM