Press Release
March 9, 2016


SENATOR Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, Senate chairman of the Committee on Health and Demography, is elated that Sen. Pia Cayetano's the health bill, which mandates PhilHealth to cover the treatment of rare diseases, has finally been signed into law.

Republic Act 10747, otherwise known as the Rare Diseases Act of the Philippines, was signed by Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III last week. The new law seeks to "improve the access of patients diagnosed to have a rare disease, or patient highly suspected of having a rare disease, to comprehensive medical care and to timely health information to help them cope with their condition."

Guingona co-sponsored the Rare Diseases Act legislated by Sen. Pia Cayetano, who serves as vice chair of Guingona's health committee. "To patients afflicted with rare diseases, the law ends the days of going through it alone," Guingona said. "It puts into place a permanent and sustainable mechanism by which government could care for the health of everyone with rare or orphan disorders."

The Philippine Society of Orphan Disorders informs that, apart from those whose ailment is undetected or kept in secret, rare diseases afflict one out of 20,000 people. Children comprise as much as 75 percent of those with rare diseases.

Guingona said that unlike patients with conventional ailments, those afflicted with rare diseases often need treatment and care for the rest of their lives. Accordingly, RA 10747stipulates that those suffering from a rare disease will be considered as Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and shall enjoy the same benefits mandated by RA 7277, as amended, or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

In addition, the new law mandates that orphan drugs and products for the sole use of patients with rare diseases, as certified by the FDA will be exempted from all taxes and customs duties.

"I thank the President and Sen. Pia Cayetano for giving the sick a fighting chance and once again demonstrating the administration's policy of inclusivity," said Guingona.

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