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Letter to the Editor:
Inquirer.Net :
Philippine Star:

MANILA, Philippines – We are glad that the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) expressed, in a full-page advertisement, their unqualified support for the efforts to bring down the cost of medicines. (Inquirer, 11/25/07) However, we believe that their fears about the effects of a Cheaper Medicine law on therapeutic efficacy and safety are unfounded and are non-sequitur.

First of all, the Cheaper Medicine bill seeks to address the lack of affordable medicines for Filipinos. It does not replace the physicians’ authority and responsibility in determining the appropriate and safe treatment for their patients with the “practice-of-medicine-at-the-drugstore-counter,” as PCP alleges. In fact, the Cheaper Medicine bill seeks to broaden the medical treatment and options available for both the physicians and their patients by making medicines more accessible and affordable to the public.


MANILA, Philippines -- Former social welfare secretary Mita Pardo de Tavera passed away last Tuesday after a battle with leukemia. She was 87.

Interment will be on Friday after a Mass at 1 p.m. at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati City.

Born to the illustrious Pardo de Tavera clan, “Mamita,” as she was called by people close to her, devoted more than six decades of her life to serving the needy.

After graduating from the University of the Philippines in 1944 with a degree in medicine, Pardo de Tavera worked at the Philippine Tuberculosis Society. It was an eye-opener for her. In a 1986 interview with Woman Today, she said, “That’s where I saw the imbalances, the wide disparity between the poor and the better-to-do.”



MARAMAG, Bukidnon, Philippines--The stinking smell was made worse by the cramped and dilapidated room, where newly born babies, together with their mothers, share whatever space there is with other patients lying on old mattresses covered with pieces of carton.

The parents and their babies were supposed to have gone home but the Bukidnon Provincial Annex Hospital here has been holding them because they cannot pay their medical bills.

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE -- President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has called on lawmakers to scrap the price control provision of the Cheaper Medicines Bill and avoid giving drug companies another excuse to delay the passage of the bill, which she has certified as urgent. The President also reminded Congress to buckle down to work on important legislative pieces instead of pursuing rehashed investigations.

Mrs. Arroyo said an “acceptable minimum” must be reached to ensure the early passage of the bill. “During the last Congress, it was passed but it did not reach the bicameral panel. Now, there is a bone of contention as to price control and maybe we can remove some controversial provisions so an acceptable minimum can be reached,” the President said in an interview after inaugurating the P289-million Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center yesterday.

Last week, the Senate committee on trade and commerce said that it was planning to create a regulatory board that would set a ceiling on prices of drugs.

In spite of the recent enactment of RA 9439 or the Hospital Detention Law, patients are still being detained in the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag for failure to settle their Hospital bills.

Resembling an unsanitized evacuation area, 18 patients lay in makeshift carton mats in the hospital’s abandoned out-patient department. A newly born baby who was previously diagnosed with Pneumonia, was again afflicted by the said disease due to the cramped and unsanitary conditions of the detention room. Some patients have been languishing in the dilapidated ward for almost three months amidst their willingness to sign promisory notes.

“With their present state of vulnerability, every day of the patients’ detention exposes them to infections and other hospital acquired diseases. The Health Workers of Bukidnon Provincial Hospital should know better than detain patients for an extended period in spite of any remaining hospital fees,” Edeliza Hernandez, Executive Director of Medical Action Group, Inc. (MAG) said.