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MAG envisions a society where fundamental human rights are upheld and protected at all times in accordance with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

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Aristotle once said “The rule of law is better than that of any individual.”

The supremacy of the law is a fundamental concept in the western democratic order. The rule of law requires both citizens and governments to be subject to known and standing laws. A corollary to this is that the rule of law presupposes the absence of wide discretionary authority in the rulers, so that they cannot make their own laws but must govern according to the established laws. Those laws ought not to be too easily changeable. Stable laws are a prerequisite of the certainty and confidence which form an essential part of individual freedom and security.

The idea of the supremacy of law requires a definition of law. This must include a distinction between law and executive administration and prerogative decree. A failure to maintain the formal differences between these things must lead to a conception of law as nothing more than authorization for power, rather than the guarantee of liberty, equally to all.

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The promotion of patients’ rights has been a growing concern of international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and local non-government and people’s organizations in the Philippines. This concern has been triggered by two things: the paradigmatic shift in viewing health as a human right and the increasing cases of violations of patients’ rights committed by health professionals and workers, particularly in Third World countries.

It is a well-known reality that in the Philippines, as well as in most other Third World countries, a significant percentage of the population are not aware of their basic human rights, more so their rights as patients. Poverty as well as lack of education and access to information has brought about this state of ignorance. Concomitantly, the dominance of a culture of subservience and silence has persisted, particularly among the poor, when relating with people vested with authority and power like health professionals. People have been made to believe that doctors and those comprising the medical institution are all knowing and competent, and ready to act only in the best interests of the patient.

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Drugs are among the most powerful tools available to doctors today. They can successfully combat life-threatening diseases and bring relief to sufferers from innumerable disorders. For most of us, taking drugs and medicines prescribed by the doctors or bought over the counter is a common experience. Yet, few of us are aware of why drugs are prescribed, how they work, and what potential dangers they represent.

Prescription drugs are distinguished by the fact that they require the authorization and supervision of a physician for their use. This authorization is usually given in the form of a written prescription which is made after a physician has determined that a person has a specific condition that will benefit from taking a specific drug. The prescriptions issued by physicians are considered to be very important in terms of its use for the patient. It is an official document which indicates the name of the drug, the dosage, the quantity of the drug to be issued under that prescription and very specific instructions for its use. Therefore, directions in the prescriptions should be clear and handwriting should be legible, among others. These aspects in the issuance of prescriptions to patients have a significant impact on the health of patients and consumers. More than anything else, it must be noted that errors within the prescriptions are risks to human health since prescription drugs must be carefully taken in with the appropriate directions. Moreover, the authority of the physicians to recommend a medical drug also depends on the prescriptions they issue.

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The Right to Health of everyone is guaranteed both in international conventions and domestic laws.

The 1987 Philippine Constitution under Article 13, Section 11 states,

“There shall be priority for the needs of the under-privileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children. The State shall endeavor to provide free medical care to paupers.”

The United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN-ICESCR) also stressed the right to health of everyone. Article 12.2-D emphasized, “The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness”.

However in spite of these state guarantees and conventions, quality and affordable healthcare remain elusive for Filipinos.