AGAP Position Paper on Expansion of Advisory Council for MDRP

Posted on July 24, 2010. Filed under: Resources |

20 July 2010

Hon. Alexander Padilla
Undersecretary for Health Regulations
Program Executive Officer
NCPAM – DOH

Dear Usec. Padilla:

Ayos na Gamot sa Abot-Kayang Presyo (AGAP) would like to extend our appreciation for the successful partnership with your office under the Advisory Council for Price Regulation.

Based on the proceedings last 6 July 2010 Council meeting, we would like to state the following:

1. We very much welcome and support the call to expand the Advisory Council for Price Regulation into Advisory Council for Safety and Quality of Medicines and Health Care.

The current council focuses merely on affordability of medicines and does not entirely respond to the objectives of R.A. 9502 to increase access to affordable and QUALITY medicines. The expansion is expected to be beneficial in ensuring consumer and patients’ right to safe and efficacious drugs through their active involvement in the creation of regulations for the purpose.

Moreover, we all agree that the Cheaper Medicines Law is a first good step but not an end in itself, as this caters mostly to those people in the middle income group but do not prove to mean access to those in the lower classes. Thus, the need to discuss for other health care strategies that will provide the less fortunate with at least the basic or primary health care package they need. This discourse is hoped to be a part of the Council’s agenda with its expansion into Advisory Council for Health Care.

2. We acknowledge that the Maximum Drug Retail Price (MDRP) has served its purpose of influencing other market players to lower the cost of medicines but as regards your pronouncement to put at halt the implementation of the MDRP, we have the following reservations:

• We fear that products subjected to the government’s price reduction efforts might increase their prices back to its original cost once the program is terminated. This is because there is no law or any other regulation disallowing them not to do so.

This apprehension also applies to those products under the Government Mediated Access Price (GMAP), which in nature is voluntary.

We hope you could do some interventions to avoid, or at least lessen this problem and its possible effects.

• We are also wary that this intervention might have other unforeseen effects that we may have to consider to avoid even the slightest undesirable change in our still recuperating health sector condition.

3. AGAP would also like to take this opportunity to voice out that there are still much to be done – in the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Law, alone.

AGAP, as part of the Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT), conducted a forum last 25 March 2010 entitled Citizens’ Assessment of the Cheaper Medicines Law: Identifying Gaps and Direction. In this occasion, the various organizations from the different sectors came up with the following recommendations, among others:

 Call IPO to amend its manual of patent examination to ensure that there would be no more recurrence of cases like the Warner Lambert/Pfizer vs. Unilab/Therapharma on frivolous patents.

 Finalization of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Food and Drugs Administration Law.

 DOH should conduct a study apart from the studies of the private sectors in terms of identifying product costs of importation and identify source countries, if found to be more affordable and more cost-efficient, then importation should be done.

 Strengthen enforcement of the existing Generics Law and expand information campaigns to promote generics.

4. Finally, we would like to inform you that AGAP will constantly monitor the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Law and we will always be open to collaborate with the Department of Health in its efforts to provide our people with access to medicines and health care. With this, we formally express our inclination to become part of the expanded Advisory Council.

We hope everything is in order but please feel free to communicate with us any questions or clarifications from the above statements through email at ayosnagamot@gmail.com or call our Program Officer at 372-39-91 loc. 30.

Looking forward to continued partnership with your office.

Thank you.

Respectfully,
Original Signed
Angelito Mendoza
Convenor

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