Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Wednesday announced that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) that would regulate the prices of drugs and medicines used to address the leading causes of morbidity in the country.
“This 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,” stressed the Palace executive.
Nograles revealed that the President signed EO No. 155 on Tuesday, December 7, 2021. The issuance 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.
Also covered by the EO are 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.
Section 2 of the EO requires all manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, traders, and retailers to “display the retail price which shall not exceed 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 MRPs and MWPs 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.
Per Section 7 of the EO, violations of the EO shall be dealt with in accordance with RA No. 9502––the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008––and other related laws.
Furthermore, it states that “pursuant to Section 19 of RA No. 9502, the Secretary of Health is directed to investigate alleged violations of the MRP and/or MWP under this Order, impose administrative fines and penalties, and call upon and deputize government entities for assistance necessary to carry out the purpose of this Order.”
Under Section 19 (D) of RA No. 9502 the DOH Secretary has the power to impose administrative fines of not less than 50,000 pesos nor more than 5,000,000 pesos. ###