GMA vows passage of cheap drugs bill

President Arroyo on Thursday vowed to compete with international drug companies in an attempt to expand low-cost medicine program of the government.

Mrs. Arroyo stressed she would not let giant drug laboratories to get in the way of the passage of cheap medicine bill.

Mrs. Arroyo issued the statement following attempt of Pfizer Philippines to derail passage of House Bill 6035, or the Half Price Medicine Bill, during the second day of the special session of Congress Tuesday.

With the success of the government’s half-priced medicine program the President is determined to expand it so more poor people could benefit from the program.

In a roundtable in Malacañang Thursday afternoon, Mrs. Arroyo said the program could include any drugstore willing to sell the commonly used medicines at cheaper prices.

“The reason why we asked the Philippine International Trading Corp. to buy these cheap medicines is because we want to make sure any drugstore can have it,” Mrs. Arroyo said.

Rep. Teddy Locsin of Makati City during the discussion explained that parallel importation of patented medicine was permitted in the original bill, “what the House did was to expand it,” to accommodate larger market of distributors.BY Sam Mediavilla, Reporter

 

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