May 22, 2018, 9:45 pm
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07022 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04971 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03427 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46553 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02521 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03403 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03824 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.6174 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0318 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00722 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 33.47954 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01912 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02536 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13117 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07028 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01912 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30067 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19226 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 382.79159 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0382 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02445 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01907 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.17151 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12202 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 54.9522 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.70612 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01912 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.78834 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41644 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.3891 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12076 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94646 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.21398 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25367 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34149 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.52008 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01621 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03927 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01423 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01423 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08859 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.89503 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 172.06501 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14027 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.93289 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15004 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.45428 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11999 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.19751 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.1499 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 271.08987 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06827 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30228 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.63862 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 804.0153 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.99809 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.38145 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0135 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.12293 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.91587 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.30863 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 77.2065 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.91109 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.20841 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 20.57725 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00577 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01568 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.29369 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 159.08222 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.77629 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.0153 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.55793 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24207 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05829 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01187 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02595 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.18017 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31807 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.99293 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 25.85086 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.83174 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15455 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.76864 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.65679 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29771 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.64149 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37878 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07606 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24208 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.88337 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59598 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15388 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.08185 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02752 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00735 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01912 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0627 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06117 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.20841 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06955 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 107.60994 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06959 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07495 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.17737 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.18375 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0717 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15039 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26023 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34331 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16581 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02562 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01424 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.42459 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 149.13958 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.7457 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 397.36138 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1673 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.84665 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24215 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.61434 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04906 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04426 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08746 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12714 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57119 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 43.51816 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.49847 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 71.12811 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01912 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59981 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 152.58126 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 1501.96941 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 435.35373 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.08088 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0494 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.62849 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05163 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.62849 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.92218 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.7782 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24216 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 99.22562 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.91969 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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