President Duterte signs executive order that imposes maximum retail, wholesale price in some medicines

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  • Duterte signed an executive order giving a maximum retail price and maximum wholesale price on medicines
  • The  EO aims to  give better access to cheaper medicines for patients with chronic conditions requiring maintenance treatment

More and more Filipinos can now have greater access to affordable medicines.

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President Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 104 on February 17, 2020, that will impose Maximum Retail Price (MRP) and Maximum Wholesale Price (MWP) on a total of 86 pharmaceutical molecules or 133 formulas.  Medicines covered in this order are those that are prescribed for cancer, diabetes, heart and lung problems.  Medicines for renal diseases, psoriasis and arthritis were also added to the list as per request by patient organizations and medical societies.

The Republic Act (RA) No. 9502 or the Cheaper Medicines Act of 2008, grants the President of the Philippines the power to impose maximum retail prices over medicines with the advice of the DOH secretary.

As per EO, the MRP will be applied to “all public and private retail outlets, including stores selling medicines, hospitals, and hospital pharmacies, health maintenance organizations, convenience stores and supermarkets, and the like.” And the  MWP is compulsory to “all manufacturers, wholesalers, traders, distributors, and the like.” MWP is for “all manufacturers, wholesalers, traders, distributors, and the like.”

The EO also requests the DTI and DOH to “convene and review” the prices of the the remaining 36 molecules or 72 formulas included in the MDP and MWP list.

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However, according to health secretary Francisco Duque, it may still take up to 4 months to enjoy the new maximum retail prices since old stocks in the market still need to be consumed.  The existing inventory are given 90 days to be sold at current prices.

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) vows to comply with the law. However, it also asked the government to study the effects of the reduction of prices in the pharmaceutical industry as it may result in low supply and manpower cost-cutting in pharmaceutical companies.