Survey: 99% of Pinoys say medicines are expensive

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    NEARLY Filipinos see medicines sold in the country as being expensive, the results of a Pulse Asia survey released by the Department of Health yesterday showed.

    The DOH said the Ulat ng Bayan September Report showed 99 percent of Filipinos do not buy all their prescription medicines because these are expensive. It also showed 23 percent said medicines are not accessible, 16 percent said there are no medicines in their place, 4 percent said they had no time to buy the medicines, and 2 percent said they did not need to take medicines.

    “Public sentiment corroborates the results of another survey commissioned by the DOH that the Philippines is still paying far more than the international reference prices for branded and generic medicines,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

    The survey also showed that 67 percent said they are able to buy medicines when prescribed with five different drugs for a month’s use. Of the 67 percent, 33 percent said they will be able to buy for less than a week, 26 percent for a week, and only 4 percent for two to four weeks.

    Asked how much they were willing to spend for a month’s supply of medicines, 71 percent said they can spend or are willing to spend less than P1,000 while 24 percent are willing to spend up to only P5,000.

    The survey showed that 73 percent of respondents believe that the DOH and the pharmaceutical industry should work to lower drug prices.

    The survey comes amid the continued opposition of the Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association of the Philippines to the proposed imposition of a price cap on 122 selected medicines.

    Duque said there will be a mean price reduction of 43 percent from the prevailing market prices once an order on the price cap is signed by President Duterte.

    Included in the proposed EO are drugs for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung diseases, neonatal diseases, and major cancers; as well as chronic renal disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.