MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an order that would regulate the prices of more drugs and medicines being used to address the leading causes of morbidity in the country, Malacañang said Wednesday.
In a statement, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 155 on Tuesday, December 7.
The order states that price regulation via maximum retail price (MRP) and/or maximum wholesale price (MW) will be imposed on 34 drug molecules and 71 drug formulas used in agents affecting bone metabolism, analgesics, anesthetics, anti-angina, antiarrhythmics, anti-asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease medicines, antibiotics, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, antidiabetic drugs, antidiuretics, and antiemetics.
The EO also covers drug molecules and formulas utilized in anti-glaucoma, anti-hypercholesterolemia medicines, antihypertensive medicines, anti-neoplastic/anti-cancer medicines, antiparkinsons drugs, drugs for overactive bladders, growth hormone inhibitors, immunosuppressant drugs, iron chelating agents, and psoriasis, seborrhea and ichthyosis medicines.
The order required all manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, traders, and retailers to display their retail prices according to the MRP.
The EO specifies that the MRP, “preceded by the words ‘RETAIL PRICE NOT TO EXCEED,’ and ‘UNDER DRUG PRICE REGULATION,’ on a red strip, shall be clearly printed on the label of the immediate container of the drug and medicine and the minimum pack thereof offered for retail.”
The list of medicines and their corresponding prices shall be subject to the review of the Department of Health (DOH), in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) six months from the effectivity of the EO, and every six months thereafter.
Violations of the EO shall be dealt with in accordance with RA No. 9502 or the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, and other related laws.
Pursuant to the said law, the Secretary of Health is directed to investigate alleged violations of the price cap, and impose administrative fines of not less than P50,000 nor more than P5,000,000.
“This (order) is part of efforts to improve access to affordable, quality medicines and reduce the health-related expenses of our countrymen, consistent with the goals of the Universal Health Care Act,” Nograles said.