Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Drug Price Control 48, DOH orientation on MWP, MRP

There was a DOH orientation for patients and consumer groups about EO 104 last week, June 26. I learned about it from CHAT googlegroups, I forgot to register early, I registered midnight the night before, DOH said registration already closed. I wrote to Saiym of DOH Secretariat, she replied late because her messages were swamped and saw my mail evening that day.
Anyway, I heard from some friends that (1) Ric Samaniego, Chairman of the Philippine Coalition of Consumer Welfare Inc. (PCCWI) and a consultant of Sen. Bong Go, dominated the discussion because Doc Meme Guerrero of DOH left the virtual meeting for another meeting. And (2) Ric mentioned that PHAP infiltrated some groups to echo their campaign. I posted these two pooints at the Adv Council email loop hoping for correction, there was no reply or correction, so I assume these two points did happen.

I asked Ric if he was referring to me. No reply. I wrote several articles in my column in BusinessWorld arguing that EO 104 should be rescinded. My last paper on the subject, 

I was also interviewed in some radio-tv programs like in DZBB hosted by Joel Zobel and Mr. Salvacion last June 04.

Also in Agila TV (Eagle Broadcasting Corp.), hosted by Partylist Cong. Angelo Palmones, last March.

Peter Wallace also argued the same in about two his columns in the Inquirer. And the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC, composed of the US, Canada, EU, Australia-NZ, Japan, Korea Chambers of Commerce, plus PAMURI) also argued the same. 

I told Ric that if here referred to me, then he is wrong and spreading disinformation and fake news. I don't need "infiltration" or influencing because I have been writing against drug price control as soon as RA 9502 was enacted into a law in 2008.

My first article about drug price control was in June 2008,

The first Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) forum, a big one, was held in January 2009 and price control was among the topics, I wrote it here,

Then the Advisory Council meeting June 05, 2009, presided by then USec Alex Padilla, and the head of Secretariat and chief spokesman for price control was Dr. Robert So. I attended it,

PHAP was then headed by Reiner Gloor, PCPI headed by Edward Isaac, PPhA headed by Leonie Ocampo, PMA represented by Dr. Art Catli, Private Hospitals Assn. still headed by Dr. Rustico Jimenez, etc. Edward said in one of the Council meetings in 2009 that it was the first time that PCPI has the same position as PHAP, opposing drug price control. It was easy for them to take a position on issues because whatever PHAP takes, they just take the opposite, but price control has united them.

What I write and argue today are generally the same as what I wrote 11-12 years ago. A collection of my essays on price control plus paper presentations in two health conferences (Cebu and Singapore) published in my first book (2011, 233 pages), 

Now DOH is planning to expand price control to more molecules, the 4 criteria it uses are all technically illegal, not in RA 9502 or its IRR, they just arbitrarily invented the criteria. Take criteria #4 of EO 104, "Drugs where the innovator product is the most expensive yet most prescribed and/or dispensed in the market." Similar to criteria #4 of EO 821 (July 2009), "If the innovator is the top selling product."

The fault and illogic of this criteria -- if it's a successful, more disease-killing, more modern medicine, more prescribed by doctors -- then demonize and penalize it with price control. Hoping that the manufacturers will pull it out and not sell at a loss, then the less-prescribed, less-effective medicines will make money, and DOH jumps with joy?

Electricity from gensets is expensive, around P15-20/kwh generation cost, which is 3x-4x more expensive than average generation charge in Meralco of around P5/kWh. Yet companies -- like hotels, hospitals, BPOs, others that run 24/7 -- will keep their gensets in case there are blackouts, at least they have continuous electricity. Darkness or using candles are more costly to their business than running a genset.

Similar to "expensive" but more powerful medicines. Don't buy it if cost is a higher priority than saving lives. But if things become desperate, if the doctor says to patient, "Hey, this drug is more expensive but you have not improved in other cheaper drugs, we should use it if you want to get well fast, or survive this disease."

If these DOH-penalized effective drugs are pulled out by their manufacturers, who will the public and patients blame when they desperately need them -- Sec. Duque and President Duterte? Sens. Bong Go and Imee Marcos? Will they accept responsibility? Very likely deadma lang.

See also:

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