May 25, 2017, 1:09 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07381 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.39851 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03597 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.32504 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02683 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03597 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04019 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.61957 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03496 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00756 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 34.20217 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0201 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02784 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13867 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06563 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0201 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30125 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20751 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 402.33121 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04015 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0271 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01953 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 13.47267 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13847 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 58.35812 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.51125 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0201 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.96925 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.47339 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.57074 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13296 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94574 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.17205 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.27938 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.36314 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46021 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01786 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0421 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01545 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01546 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08669 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.90334 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 181.20981 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14748 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 4.11013 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15644 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.47082 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13208 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.33903 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.50744 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 267.16239 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0719 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.29803 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 23.73392 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 651.98958 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.0008 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.60008 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01424 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.23286 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.07094 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.36441 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 81.2902 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 9.04341 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 18.08682 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 22.44775 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00609 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01648 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.24598 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 164.32878 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 30.27532 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.06873 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 1.84887 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26588 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06127 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01247 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02803 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19542 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.36586 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.09586 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 27.49196 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 48.43248 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16115 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 7.19453 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.69695 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.3115 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 14.4168 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37541 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08626 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26598 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.33039 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59385 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16751 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.07195 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02866 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00773 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0201 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06572 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06587 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.10309 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07495 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 111.9996 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07317 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0813 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.13651 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.46403 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07535 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15881 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26967 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13384 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17452 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02785 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01546 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44626 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 149.31673 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 11.03296 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 437.5784 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17528 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.34928 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26605 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.69031 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04822 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04643 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0716 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13463 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60344 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 44.81511 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52904 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 72.62862 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0201 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56692 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 76.36656 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20045 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 454.6624 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.15394 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05199 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 11.70539 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05426 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 11.75181 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11917 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 5.02271 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2661 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 104.2906 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.27291 Zimbabwe dollar

Unfilled prescriptions

SENATOR Juan Miguel Zubiri is considering amending RA 9502 Quality and Affordable Medicines Act to include a Drug Price Regulatory Board that will reduce prices of drugs here--among the highest in the world. He is one of the original authors of RA 9502. “Our original bills recommended the creation of the Drug Price Regulatory Board. It disappeared in the final version. Now, it will be back in the amendments we will consider.”

“We should regulate prices... in addition to aggressive government importation, pooling of purchases of small drugstores to avail of discounts, and stocking rural health centers with low-cost drugs....The Committee will seriously look into the opportunity to buy low-cost drugs from China, India and Singapore. We will also ensure that we get the expanded list of drugs to be covered by the Maximum Drug Retail Price (MRDP) program.”

Zubiri recommended, DOH Secretary Ubial agreed to adopt the list of medicines proposed by patient groups, for the following: for cancer, end-stage renal disease, biologics for psoriasis and lupus, vaccines for pneumococcal and flu, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, asthma and COPD. Zubiri recommended the addition of drugs for breast cancer and Hepatitis C. “We shall get the expanded list by July 27 this year and the Oversight Committee will strictly monitor the implementation of MDRP Phase 2.”

“For medicines, the free market competition doesn’t work for the welfare of the people. Free competition can work for luxuries, but, it has no place for drugs which is a life and death issue. Especially for the poor who can’t buy medicines despite PhilHealth, guarantee letters in government hospitals and limited free drugs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”

It’s been three years since the local Consumers’ Action for Empowerment or CAE has accused multinational pharmaceuticals of controlling the entire essential drug production chain in the Philippines from manufacturing, distribution and retail. This underhanded manipulation has resulted in expensive medicines. It is a case of monopoly control which the previous administrations looked away from.

The Philippines ranks among countries where medicines are most expensive. Pharmaceutical corporations dictate the high prices of medicines. The poor (making up the majority of the population) die with prescriptions, unfilled, shoved under his pillow.

Dr. Julie Caguiat, convener of CAE at that period, said then that given the monopoly control, the Philippines’ Cheaper Medicines Law cannot make any significant change in reversing the inaccessibility of essential medicines for the people. She cited (Nifedipine) Adalat Retard (20 mg) manufactured by Bayer pegged at P43.45 per tablet in most drugstores in the Philippines based on 2010 prices while the same brand and preparation can be bought in India at P1.44 per tablet. The same is true with (Mefenamic Acid) Ponstan (500 mg) manufactured by Pfizer which is bought in the country for P25.77 and the same drug can be bought in India at P2.96.

Caguiat, in 2012: “Why are the same brands of medicines cheaper in India? It is because, unlike our government which succumbs to the dictates of these Transnational Corporations, India imposed strict regulations, decisively curbing the control of TNCs in its drug industry.” Poor families bear the burden of expensive medicines. 

A research years ago done by Ibon Foundation reported that the average family spent P7,018 for health whereas the government allotted a measly P912.50 per person that year; the bottom half of the households spend an average of 49 percent of their total health expenses for medicines; there is no capitation for primary care and 80 percent of pharmacy sales are on outpatient.

CAE, back in 2012: “The government cannot argue anymore that there is no sufficient fund for health or medicines for that matter. The Aquino government reeks of systemic corruption.... We call on the government to undertake immediate measures to make essential medicines accessible to the people: remove the monopoly control of TNCs in medicine prices; remove 12 percent of VAT in essential medicines; ensure free essential medicines in public hospitals; abolish the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and allocate bigger budget for health including providing for free essential medicines for the poor.”

For more info, SENATOR JUAN MIGUEL F. ZUBIRI, Ms. Leoncio 0929-2048706.

***

Dahliaspillera@yahoo.com
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