ECCP joined the Quality Affordable Medicines Oversight Committee (QAMOC) meeting last May 16 at the Philippine Senate. The QAMOC is tasked to monitor the implementation of the said law Universally-Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act.
The Committee discussed stakeholders' comments and views on the said law’s implementation, as well as their recommendations on how access to affordable quality drugs and medicines for all can be better achieved.
The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) presented the industry’s position which is very much in line with the ECCP's -- that mandatory price cuts should just be a reserve instrument and a temporary measure in the absence of effective competition.
As per PHAP's position paper, "studies revealed most of these medicines continue to be inaccessible to many Filipinos primarily due to poverty and the need for increased government support for financing medicines.The country’s official poverty statistics showed that one in five Filipinos remains poor. Thus, no matter how low medicines are priced, they will still be out of reach for many Filipinos.
While it did not achieve intended health outcomes, the PHAP further notes that the government-mandated price reductions had undesirable effects, including reduced industry growth rates with probable implications on tax contributions. Several of our members were also compelled to scale down operations and cut jobs to cope with the financial impact of such reductions."
ECCP will continue to monitor this issue.