Is one suffering from Chronic Illness a Disabled person? This has been discussed with the National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA) 2 years ago and was answered in the negative.
First, Republic Act 9442, amending RA 7277, the Magna Carta for disabled persons, provides that the 20% discount for the purchase of medicine shall be for the exclusive use and emjoyment of persons with disability, thus:
CHAPTER 8. Other Privileges and Incentives
“SEC. 32. Persons with disability shall be entitled to the following:
(c) At least twenty percent (20%) discount for the purchase of medicines in all drugstores for the exclusive use or enjoyment of persons with disability;”
Second, the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9442 states that the granting of said 20% discount is subject to the guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH), thus:
“IRR OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9442,
6.1.d Purchase of Medicine – at least twenty percent (20%) discount on the purchase of medicine for the exclusive use and enjoyment of persons with disability. All drug stores, hospital, pharmacies, clinics and other similar establishments selling medicines are required to provide at least twenty percent (20%) discount subject to the guidelines issued by DOH and PHILHEALTH.”
Third, the DOH-Administrative Order No. 2009-0011 has made clear in its “Rationale” and in the “Definition of Terms,” particularly on the “Disability Types,” the phrase “Chronic Illnesses with Disabilities” or “disability due to chronic illness,” thus:
“DOH – ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 2009-0011
SUBJECT: Guidelines to Implement the Provisions of Republic Act 9442, Otherwise known as "An Act Amending Republic Act No. 7277, otherwise known as the "Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, and for Other Purposes," for the provision of medical and related discounts and special privileges
Republic Act No. 7277, "An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation, Self-Development, and Self-Reliance of Persons with Disability and Their Integration into the Mainstream of Society and for Other Purposes," and otherwise known as "The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons," was passed in March 24, 1992. This specifically required the Department of Health (DOH) to, (I) institute a national health program for PWDs, (2) establish medical rehabilitation centers in provincial hospitals, and (3) adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to the health development of PWD which shall make essential health services available to them at affordable cost.
Rule IV, Section 4, Paragraph B of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of this Act required the Department of Health to address the health concerns of seven (7) different categories of disability, which includes the following: (1) Psychosocial and behavioral disabilities, (2) Chronic illnesses with disabilities, (3) Learning (cognitive or intellectual) disabilities, (4) Mental disabilities, (5) Visual/ seeing disabilities, (6) Orthopedic/moving, and; (7) Communication deficits.
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IV. DEFINITION OF TERMS
Consistent with the pertinent definitions used in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7277 and RA 9442, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
DISABILITY TYPES – the 7 types of disabilities mentioned in RA 7277 are psychosocial disability, disability due to chronic illness, learning disability, mental disability, visual disability, orthopedic disability, and communication disability.”
As can be gleaned from the above laws, persons having mere chronic illnesses are not considered as Persons with Disability (PWD). This was made clear during the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) committee hearing held last October 20, 2011.
Even in the American Disability Act (ADA), Having a chronic illness does not automatically qualify a person as disabled. To be considered disabled under the ADA, he must:
Have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Have a record of such impairment
Be regarded as having such an impairment.
The above requirements are included in the definition of “Disability” under RA 7277, to wit:
“(c). Disability shall mean (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more psychological, physiological or anatomical function of an individual or activities of such individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment;”
Sad to say, during the early days of implementation of PWD discount, Mercury Drug was lenient in accommodating Chronic Illness, but there were abuses by certain persons like a municipality who issued PWD IDs to most of its employees and stated in their IDs that they have a disability of “Chronic Illness,” but only to discover that they only have sinusitis. Cancer is a Chronic Illness and one who has a chronic illness does not necessarily mean that he is disabled.
According to NCDA, some hospitals also disallowed the discount because mere chronic illness is not disability, but merely a sickness or disease. This is the reason why DOH-AO No. 2009-0011 stated in clear terms the phrase “disability due to chronic illness” as one of the types of disabilities and not only the words “chronic illness.”
Our Constitution gives power to Congress/Senate (Legislature) to enact laws and the Executive to implement the laws. For orderly and proper implementation of laws enacted by Congress the Executive is given a delegated power by Legislature to enact Implementing Rules and Regulations. Hence, this IRR and other rules, such as DOH Administrative Rules are also called laws which must also be followed and observed.
The one month limitation drug purchase cannot be found in RA 9442 because that is provided in DOH Administrative Order No. 2009-0011 that the “dispensing of medicine must be in accordance with the prescription issued by a physician and should not exceed one month supply.” This law is very clear and as an advocate for rights and observance of law you should understand this and should have followed. Your prescription is over one month supply and we are merely following the law.
Senior Citizens Discount 5: Supreme Court Flip-Flopping on the Law, September 03, 2013
Drug Price Control 37: Four Years of the Policy, August 16, 2013
UHC 18: DOH Budget, Healthcare Deregulation and PharmaWealth, August 08, 2013