More price cuts for Philippine drugs postponed for 2010

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More price cuts for drugs postponed for 2010

From abs-cbn Newsbreak 12/16/2009 MANILA, Philippines -Price cuts for new batches of medicines were postponed for 2010 as insufficient manpower and delays in information sourcing stymied the expansion of the coverage of the Cheap Medicines Act.

In the oversight committee hearing at the Senate on Wednesday, officials from the Department of Health (DOH) admitted that the number of drugs covered by the voluntary price reduction and the maximum retail price stays at 21.

There are 16 other medicines subject to government-mediated 10% to 15% price decrease since President Arroyo signed the Cheaper Medicines Act in August.

Five common drugs have been initially placed under maximum retail price (MRP), or a mandatory 50% price cut. These drugs include the Amlodipine for hypertension, Atorvastatin for anti-cholesterol, Azithromycin as antibiotic/antibacterial, Cytarabine and Doxorubicin for anti-neoplastics/anti-cancer.

Compliance check

Nonetheless, the DOH reported that prices of some medicines not in the first list have been slashed. The officials cited Losartan, a drug against hypertension.

The DOH and DTI also entered into agreements with two companies to sell insulin preparations for only P525 to P550 per vial.

Insulin products are normally priced at P1,400 per vial.  Continue reading here

Unfair to Mercury Drug

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

There are reports that multinational pharmaceutical firm Pfizer has threatened Mercury Drug Corp. that it would stop supplying Lipitor and that it would file a case in court if the latter insists on selling a generic version of its pricey product. If this is true, then it can be said that Pfizer may have gone too far.

If this story about the alleged Pfizer threat against Mercury Drug is true, then we, Filipinos, have once again been shown the power of Pfizer’s business and political power. If it is true that Mercury Drug has capitulated to the reported Pfizer threat, then sick Filipinos who do not have enough money for their Lipitor requirements will just have to bite their lips and accept this sad reality.

But by most indications, that story about the alleged threat could be true. For one, we don’t think the likes of our fellow Atenean and show business personality Subas Herrero would lie. It was Herrero whom media quoted in an exposé about the alleged threat by Pfizer against the Mercury Drug chain.

If it was Pfizer’s intention to draw a wedge between this much-loved drugstore chain and Filipinos, it may have scored some points. But what for?  Continue reading here

My comment:  On a recent visit to Mercury Drug and I asked for a Generic drug instead of the brand name, the clerk said they don't carry it.  Mercury will suffer if they only carry Brand names as people are seeking lower cost alternatives and the Generic Drugstores are growing by leaps and bounds.