Online Petition in Support of the Affordable Medicines Act

Cut the costs of medicines. Pass the Affordable Medicines Act Now!

Petition: We urge Congress to immediately pass the Affordable Medicines Act principally authored by Senator Mar Roxas.

Status: Senate and House are working on consolidated version which hopefully can be signed into law on or before Labor Day (Thursday, May 1, 2008).

What the measure seeks to do:

1. Amend the Intellectual Property Code to allow parallel importation of affordable medicines from abroad, and to help generics firms to develop quality and affordable generic medicines.

2. Allow the President, upon recommendation of the Secretary of Health, to impose drug price ceilings in times of calamity, public health emergencies, events that cause artificial and unreasonable price hikes in medicines, the prevalence of illegal price manipulation and whenever prices of essential drugs have risen to unreasonable levels.

3. Strengthen the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (BFAD) by allowing it to retain its operating income or earnings for modernization, training and equipment upgrades and expansion of human resources.

Differences between the Senate and House Versions:

1. Title The Senate version is known as the Quality Affordable Medicines Act. The House version is known as the Cheaper Medicines Act.

2. Price Regulation:

o The Senate subscribes to the idea of price regulation on medicines but only through the Office of the President based on the recommendation of the Secretary of Health. This streamlines the process of price regulation and makes it more accountable and transparent to the people.
o The House version seeks to establish a drug price regulatory board composed of different stakeholders that will have the power to set the prices of medicines higher or lower based on their analysis of the situation.
3. On the generics-only provision, both chambers have agreed to work on this as a separate bill to fast-track the passage of amendments to the Intellectual Property Code.

Will the passage of this bill bring down the costs of medicines in the country? Senator Mar Roxas said: All the tools to help the executive bring in quality affordable medicines and promote better competition in the pharmaceutical and retail industry are in this measure. This is why I am reiterating my call for its immediate passage.

Why not a Drug Price Regulatory Board rather than relying on the Secretary of Health to regulate the price of drugs? I want accountability to be placed in one person the Secretary of Health, who will thus forward his recommendations to the President. To place the power of price regulation under a nameless, faceless board would serve only to diffuse accountability and perpetuate finger-pointing at the expense of the public. (Sen. Mar Roxas, February 8, 2008)

Next steps after the bill is passed? I call on the DoH to start working on a concrete plan on how to use parallel importation and price regulation to bring down the cost of medicines in the country. Once this plan is completed, it must be presented before stakeholders and the general public at an Affordable Medicines Summit to ensure the cooperation of all in the effective implementation of this landmark law. (Sen. Mar Roxas, April 11, 2008 interview at the Senate)

Examples of Price Differentials of Drugs in RP and Other Countries:

a. Norvasc, a maintenance drug for hypertension, is priced at P44.75 in the Philippines yet sells for the equivalent of P5.00 in India.
b. Bactrim 400, a drug to treat respiratory tract infection, is priced at P17.75 per tablet in the Philippines yet sells for the equivalent of P1.00 in Pakistan and 69 centavos in India.
c. Ventolin inhaler for asthmatic children is priced at P406 per inhaler in the Philippines yet sells for P231 per inhaler in Bangkok, Thailand.

The passage of the Affordable Medicines Act will enable both the government and the private sector to bring in these quality affordable medicines so that Filipinos will have the same access to cheaper drugs as the Indians, Pakistanis, Thais, and other nationalities. By bringing in these more affordable drugs, competition in the local market will be enhanced thus compelling our own pharmaceutical industry to lower their prices. The same thing happened when the monopoly of the PLDT was broken because of the entry of Globe Telecoms, Bayantel, and Sun Cellular. Or when PAL was forced to improve its services and be on time because of Cebu Pacific and other budget airlines.

As Senator Roxas explained: My colleagues and I already agree in principle on two items: first, we want to promote the local generics industry and loosen monopolistic and oligapolistic controls in the pharmaceutical industry, and second, that price regulation is an option that ought to be at the governments disposal.

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Goal reached !
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Latest Signatures

  • 14 January 2016300. Meng M
    I support this petition
  • 12 January 2016299. Crystal L
    This should have been done long time ago rather than politicians focusing on how to corrupt more money
  • 09 January 2016298. Dorivic Em
    Im a 50 year old ctitzen and this would really help me a lot imagine a Norvasc medicine made by a big company. That i would have to drink for the rest of my life to sustain Health and wellness. Today one drug would cost P48.00 in all drug stores. The medi
  • 24 December 2015297. Cleon D
    I support this petition
  • 06 December 2015296. Magnolia N
    I support this petition
  • 25 November 2015295. Jolina N
    Para sa kabutihan at kapakanan ng mamamayang Pilipino!!!
  • 23 November 2015294. Alphonse T
    kung nahihirapan na taung mga middle class... mas lalo pa ang masa...
  • 17 November 2015293. Aj M
    I support this petition
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  • 05 August 2015280. Fabian M
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  • 02 August 2015279. Alln Jhayc
    not all filipino can buy/purchse branded medicine...
  • 31 July 2015278. Joy Menesesd
  • 30 July 2015277. Virginia P
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Shannon FrostBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Philippine Congress


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