AGAP commends Supreme Court for upholding the Cheaper & Quality Medicines Act

Posted on May 19, 2009. Filed under: News |

AYOS NA GAMOT SA ABOT-KAYANG PRESYO (AGAP), a multi-sectoral coalition of health professionals, labor union activists, civil society organizations, consumer groups and public health workers, and the Executive Committee on Policy Advocacy of Coalition for Health and Transparency (CHaT), commend the decision of the Supreme Court in Roma Drug vs. Glaxo SmithKline, which allowed Romeo Rodriguez, owner of Roma drug, to directly import drugs instead of purchasing through the local distributor Glaxo SmithKline.

Associate Justice Dante Tinga of the Court’s Second Division applied the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008 in the present case which allows parallel importation of patented drugs by third parties to protect them from being threatened or sued.

“Even worse is the fact that the law in not content with simply banning, at civil costs, the importation of unregistered drugs. It equates the importers of such drugs, many of whom motivated to do so out of altruism or basic human love, with the malevolents who would alter or counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs for resins of profit at the expense of public safety. Note the SLCD is a special law, and the traditional treatment of penal provisions of special law is that of malum prohibitum- or punishable regardless of motive or criminal intent. For a law that is intended to help save lives, the SLCD has revealed itself as a heartless soulless legislative piece.” said the Court

The Court added that “The challenged provisions of the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs apparently proscribe a range of constitutionally permissible behavior. It is laudable that the passage of Republic Act 9502, the state has reversed course and allowed for a sensible and compassionate approach with respect to the importation of pharmaceutical drugs urgently necessary for the people’s constitutionally-recognized right to health.”

If the government, by all means, can protect others who will make medicines accessible and affordable in reality only then we can achieve and sustain every Filipinos’ social healthcare needs! Because if not, who else will?

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