Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Second round of politicized drug pricing

Last Friday, February 26, this was the headline in the DOH website, "DOH announces second wave of drug price reduction".

Four days before that, February 22, there was a meeting by the DOH Advisory Council on Price Regulation, and one of the main topics that day was about the 2nd list of drugs where prices were voluntarily brought down by their manufacturers. I attended that meeting, that's why I knew about this.

A few points about the DOH announcement, above.

One, there is the impression that the foreign pharma manufacturers just brought down the prices of their products almost simultaneously. I gathered from some sources that the DOH leadership wrote to the officials of foreign pharma companies in the Philippines, asking for a new round of drug price cut. In short, there was a prior request from the DOH.

Two, one official of a big Filipino-owned pharma company noted that the DOH only wrote to the foreign manufacturers, but not to the local pharma companies. He said that locals have some capacity to bring down the prices of some of their medicines. So should the DOH advertise later those drugs and their new prices, the foreign manufacturers that participated in that price cut will receive some favorable feedback from the public.

Again, there is no need for such DOH action of writing to the foreign pharma companies for possible price discount if there is healthy competition among the players. No need for DOH letter, then press release on the subject, no need for DOH to deputize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that drugstores nationwide will indeed implement the 2nd round of drug price cut.

No comments: