Sunday, March 30, 2014

ETHIKOS 1: MeTA-PH, PCPI, PHAP and FDA on launching

(Note: This is an expanded version of the paper that I wrote last Friday.)

Last Thursday night, the ETHIKOS (Ethics in Healthcare) Movement was launched at C3 Events Place in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. Many participants from different groups and sectors. Some quotes from some speakers that night.

All photos I got from the MeTA Philippines facebook page. Thanks Ian Nuevo.

1. Former Gov. Roberto “Obet” Pagdanganan, MeTA Philippines Chairman

Gov. Obet thanked the participants, particularly the organizations that formed movement – the Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) Philippines, the Coalition for Health Advocacy and Transparency (CHAT), and the British Embassy’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Then he introduced the Convenor Group of the ETHIKOS Movement: (1) Princess Nemenzo of WomanHealth, (2) Celia Carlos of the Drugstores Association of the Philippines (DSAP), (3) Girlie Lorenzo of Kythe Foundation, also of the Philippine alliance for Patient Organizations (PAPO); Tony Leachon of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), and himself.

He discussed what ETHIKOS is – a movement to encourage ethics in delivering healthcare to the patients, ethics in dealing with healthcare professionals  and other private players in the sector, ethics in government.

2. Atty. Dave Escalona, Philippine Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (PCPI) and United Laboratories

Dave said that the local pharma industry is supporting the Mexico City Principles (MCP) for voluntary codes of business ethics in the biopharmaceutical sector. He introduced a similar term, “Manila Principles” where the basis of such code of ethics are the Generics Act of 1998 and the Cheaper Medicines Law of 2008 (RA 9502), and the object of such ethics is the welfare of the patients.

Thus, the Manila Principles should consider TRIPS flexibilities as contained in RA 9502, avoid whenever possible prolonged data exclusivity, disallow frivolous patents, allow early working of soon-expiring patents of innovator drugs. He lamented that many local pharma companies are small and lesser known compared to big multinational pharma.

3. Teodoro “Ted” Padilla, Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) Executive Director.

Ted narrated that in 1993, the association introduced and adopted a code of ethics called the PHAP Code of Practice. He quoted the late Doc Alberto “Quasi” Romualdez (a former DOH Secretary, founding chairman of MeTA PH) who said that “The most important achievement of PHAP now is that they have made ethical behaviour an import part of their commitment…”

He emphasized that no amount of health reform will be truly universal if people and players ignore the consequences of unethical behaviour. He also expressed support for the FDA to implement the MCP. Then he mentioned the important role of the innovator companies for endlessly producing new medicines which help save lives and improve the quality of life of Filipinos.

4. Kenneth “Ken” Hartigan Go, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General.

Doc Ken discussed certain FDA guidelines regarding senior government officials (SGOs) who make follow up calls at FDA. There are four possibilities where SGOs:

(a)     to inquire on behalf of his/her private sector associates, or determine the status of a rival company
(b)     to request earlier facilitationof application (expediting or jumping the queue
(c)     to demand aprovals even if the license or product registration is to be denied, or to demand a denial against a rival company, and
(d)     to reverse a regulatory decision.

My comments to some of these points in my next article about ETHIKOS..

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