572,000 Makati residents benefit from free medicines


    SOME 572,357 residents who are members of the Makati Health Plus or Yellow Card program have benefited from the free medicine program of the Makati Health Department (MHD) dubbed “Libreng Gamot Para sa Mamamayan” from January 1 to October 31 this year.

    Makati Mayor Abby Binay said these included maintenance medicines, vitamins, and other pharmaceutical products. She noted this figure was 14.47 percent higher than last year’s number of patients during the same period, which stood at 499,986.

    “Medicines are important in addressing health problems and improving the quality of life of our people. Our free medicine program aims to reduce household expenditures of our dear Makatizens, especially those with family members who continuously take medications,” she said.

    Binay said the city government has spent P936 million in the past 10 months for its drug subsidy program to help defray the cost of maintenance medicines and supplements of active Yellow Cardholders and their qualified dependents. These include Ospital ng Makati patients, city government employees, selected Makati-based national government personnel, and residents from the city’s 33 barangays.

    The city government paid P716 million for the medications of its beneficiaries from January 1 to October 31, 2018.

    MHD chief Dr. Bernard Sese said the program covers medicines and pharmaceutical products for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, dyslipidemia, enlarged prostate, gout, cough and colds, sexually transmitted infections, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, seizure disorder, allergy, ulcer, vertigo, gastrointestinal problems, and other diseases. Free multivitamins are also given for free, as well as oral and injectable contraceptives.

    For this year, Sese said the top maintenance medicines in terms of sales were Metformin for those with diabetes; Losartan for those with hypertension; Rosuvastatin, Atorvastatin, and Trimetazidine for those with cardiovascular diseases.

    Based on the approved 2020 budget of the city, Makati has increased the budget for its free medicines program next year to P1.27 billion to pay for the medicines of residents and City Hall employees. The project started in 2013 with an initial budget of P59 million.