DOH warns pharmacists selling high-priced lepto drug Doxycycline

Marje Pelayo   •   August 13, 2018   •   2775

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III


MARIKINA CITY, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III warned pharmacies that are selling high-priced leptospirosis medicine Doxycycline.

Duque stressed that the price of doxycycline drug ranges from P10.00 to P30.00 depending on brand. Any amount higher than that is considered overpriced and pharmacies imposing unauthorized markup will be ordered closed.

“Ang mga botlika huwag pong samantalahin ang panahon kung kailan mataas ang pangangailangan sa mga gamot. Huwag pong itaas ang presyo at may batas po kayong nilalabag. Pwede po kayong makasuhan,” Duque warned.

The Health Secretary assured, however, that the agency has enough supply of doxycycline which patients can avail for free in local health centers.

On Monday (August 13), Duque personally checked on the condition of evacuees in Bagong Silangan in Quezon City and in Malanday Elementary School in Marikina City where most of the monsoon-hit families stay.

The DOH distributed an additional 25,000 tablets of Doxycycline to local government units of Marikina City for prevention from leptospirosis infection.

Aside from doxycycline, the DOH also donated boxes of assorted medicines against rainy day diseases such as diarrhea, fungal infection, and influenza.

To date, the agency has already distributed about P1.35M worth of medicine and medical supplies to calamity-hit areas such as San Juan City, Marikina City, and Rizal, while the fund is ready for release, should LGUs in Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Ilocos Region, all affected by the monsoon rains, request for it.

All DOH-accredited hospitals are also on code white alert to immediately address emergency situations amid the inclement weather. – Aiko Miguel / Marje Pelayo

Leptospirosis case now over 900; NKTI gym, converted into leptos ward

Maris Federez   •   August 20, 2019

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) has turned its gymnasium into an alternative ward for leptospirosis patients.

This is to accommodate patients with leptospirosis and be provided with immediate treatment for the deadly disease.

The Department of Health (DOH) said the recent rains that caused flooding had contributed to the increase in the number of leptospirosis patients in Metro Manila alone.

To date, the DOH has recorded 106 fatalities and more than 900 cases of leptospirosis. 300 of which are from the NCR.

“It’s really a problem because you know the environmental, sanitation and hygiene do affect the health of our people because the local government, for example, do not do their efficient garbage collection, so certainly it raises the risk of the populace,” DOH Sec. Francisco Duque added.

This, however, is still low compared to what was recorded last year in the last 2 years.

The DOH then urged the public to maintain cleanliness in their respective surroundings to prevent leptospirosis. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf

Lacson open to talking to Duque amid conflict of interest claims

Robie de Guzman   •   August 2, 2019

(L-R) Senator Panfilo Lacson and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said he is open to a dialogue with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who is facing allegations of conflict of interest.

Lacson made the statement in response to Duque’s remark that he is trying to reach out to the senator to clarify his claims.

READ: Duque to reach out to Lacson on conflict of interest claims

However, rather than having a dialogue, the senator believes it would be better for Duque to explain the issue to the public.

“At the end of the day its between him and God, it’s between him and his conscience, it’s between him and the public,” Lacson told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

Lacson recently revealed that Duque’s family-owned Doctors Pharmaceuticals company bagged government contracts in 2016 and 2017. He also said that Duque’s family owned the building being leased by PhilHealth in Pangasinan.

Duque has repeatedly denied the allegations, insisting that he already divested from his family’s firm.

The senator also bared that the health chief has been setting up meetings with several congressmen who are allies of former President and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

It was during Arroyo’s presidency when Duque was appointed as Health secretary in 2005.

“Ang impormasyon ko nakikiusap siya sa kaalyado ng dating Pangulong Arroyo na magkaroon ng pagpupulong sa mga kongresista, kung bakit hindi ko alam,” Lacson said.

(Based on the information I received he is talking with the allies of former President Arroyo to have a meeting with congressmen. Why? I don’t know.)

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is set to investigate Duque and other issues dogging the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Phillhealth).

Lacson hopes that Duque will attend the inquiry to shed some light on these issues, particularly the alleged corruption within Philhealth.

“It seems na meron talagang mafia-like group sa PhilHealth na nagmamanipula ng pondo,” he said.

(It seems there really is a mafia-like group in PhilHealth that manipulates funds.)

Lacson said his exposé about the anomalies in PhilHealth is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s challenge to fight corruption, which the chief executive emphasized in his fourth State of the Nation Address last July 22. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

Duque won’t be asked to file a leave amid corruption probe — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   August 1, 2019

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines – Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte will not ask Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to file a leave of absence despite an imminent investigation against him for allegations of impropriety.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon is set to probe Duque for alleged conflict of interest over deals between the government and pharmaceutical companies owned by his family, and for allowing PhilHealth office in Pangasinan to rent in a family-owned property.

“That is his call,” said Panelo.

Panelo asked critics to let the due process of law take its course on the matter.

He added that while the investigation is ongoing, the presumption of innocence remains on the accused under the Constitution.

“Those who charge him should submit proof to support their accusations,” Panelo concluded. — with reports from Rosalie Coz


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