Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Drug price control and LP populism

I read a news report today, where Sen. Mar Roxas was "exasperated" why the drug price control provision in the "cheaper medicines law" (RA 9502) is still not implemented by the DOH.

Where are cheap drugs?

Written by Butch Fernandez / Reporter
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 22:33

EXASPERATED members of a joint congressional oversight committee on Tuesday denounced administration officials for “obstructing” the speedy implementation of the cheaper-medicines law, already a law since nearly a year ago.

“It seems the government is in cahoots with the big drug companies, that’s why they are not much interested in having the law implemented,” said Sen. Mar Roxas II at a public hearing at the Senate....

Roxas complained the Health department has yet to set the maximum retail prices for medicines as mandated in the law. “Nine months have passed since the law was enacted but the DOH has not done it. They are too slow; so we are looking for a solution to the bureaucratic obstacle.”...

Price control is a favorite advocacy by socialist-leaning politicians, political parties, NGOs and other organizations.
Food prices are high, impose price control.
Housing rental is high, impose rent control.
Gasoline prices are high, impose price control.
Medicine prices are high, another price control.

Individual pricing by individuals, firms and enterprises are wrong, that is why their prices have to be socialized, through government-imposed maximum pricing.

But there are uncontrolled taxes in medicines (import tax + import doc stamp tax + import processing fee + local govt tax + value added tax, etc. on medicines is about 20 % of retail price); uncontrolled income taxes for companies manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing medicines; uncontrolled health regulations by BFAD and DOH; uncontrolled wages and benefits as mandated by the DOLE; uncontrolled prices of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs, mostly imported), uncontrolled cost of R&D and marketing (about $0.8 to $1.0 billion per successful medicine), uncontrolled risks of possible IPR confiscation through compulsory licensing (CL), etc. etc. And the final product, the price of medicine, will be controlled by the government?

Uncontrolled taxes and costs in production and marketing but controlled price of the final product. That is a perfect formula for socialized pricing, for medicine socialism.

I thought that the Liberal Party (LP) is for liberal politics and economics, where individual liberty in most cases is more paramount than collective liberty?

I believe that Sen. Mar made a serious mistake in agreeing to having a price control provision in the law where he put his personal and political stake at a high level. Since that provision is among the "last resort" provisions, then it should not be used nor implored since there is no "national health emergency" existing. But there he is, castigating the DOH for not implementing drug price control.

Is Sen. Mar and the LP moving leftwards and trying-hard socialist just to put the Senator up in the Presidentiable surveys?

No comments: