April 23, 2010
ROXAS BATS FOR AT LEAST ONE BOTIKA NG BAYAN FOR EVERY TOWN
Liberal Party vice presidential candidate and race frontrunner Sen. Mar Roxas today pledged that he and LP standard-bearer Senator Noynoy Aquino will ensure at least one Botika ng Bayan outlet selling affordable medicines will be put up in each town in within six years.
Declaring anew that only a clean and honest government can ensure the people's access to affordable healthcare and medicines, Roxas said he and Aquino has made this part of their commitment to give every Filipino access to quality and affordable health care.
Aquino and Roxas have also pledged that every Filipino, whether rich or poor, will be covered by health insurance by 2013 by subsidizing 100% coverage of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
"Kung tapat at tuwid ang pamumuno, prayoridad nitong tiyakin ang kalusugan ng ordinaryong mamamayan, hindi ang interes ng iilang kumpanya ng gamot (Ensuring the health of ordinary citizens is the priority of a clean and honest government, as against the interests of a few drug firms)," Roxas said.
"Ang ipaglalaban natin, kahit isang Botika ng Bayan sa bawat bayan, at kung kaya pa, isa sa bawat barangay. Sing-halaga ng pagpapababa ng presyo ng gamot ang pagsiguro na abot-kamay ito ng mga Pilipino (We are fighting for at least one Botika ng Bayan outlet in every town, and if we still can, one for each barangay. This is as important as ensuring that prices of medicines are low)," Roxas said.
At present, there are more than 1,900 Botika ng Bayan outlets serving around 550 of the 1,631 cities and municipalities in the Philippines. However, this is still far from the government's own target of 3,300 outlets by 2010, and around 1,000 municipalities are not yet served by a Botika ng Bayan outlet.
As Secretary of Trade and Industry, Roxas started the 'Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya' program, where quality and affordable medicines are imported and sold in government hospitals and Botika ng Bayan outlets.
"We can increase the number of Botika ng Bayan outlets by improving small entrepreneurs' access to credit. The first task of the day is to ensure a clean and honest government, so that more will be enticed to engage in this endeavor," he said.
"Karapatan ng lahat ng Pilipino ang abot-kaya at abot-kamay na gamot at serbisyong pangkalusugan, hindi lamang yung mga pinapaboran ng mga pulitiko (Access to affordable medicines and healthcare services is the right of all Filipinos, and not just of those favored by politicians)," he stressed.
The primary author of the Cheaper Medicines law said the prices of around 200 medicines have already been slashed by 50% or more. Still, a lot more can be done, such as ensuring funding for the parallel importation of medicines.
For instance, the price of anti-hypertensive drug Norvasc has now been slashed to P22 per tablet from P44 because of the maximum retail price provision of the law. Meanwhile, Norvasc could be imported and sold for as low as P10 per tablet.
"Mahigit sampung taon nating ipinaglaban ang abot-kaya at de-kaledad na gamot, at nagtagumpay tayo sa kabila ng pambabraso ng mga dambuhalang kumpanya ng gamot. Ipagpapatuloy natin ang labang ito (We fought for quality and affordable medicines for more than a decade, and we succeeded now despite multinational drug companies' bullying. We will wager on with this fight)," he said.
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