Philippines Department of Health Reduces Drug Prices of Sixteen Medicines

On August 15, 2009, the Philippines Department of Health announced that all
drug dispensing outlets in the country are to provide a total of 21 medicines
and all their various preparations at half-price. This news comes after President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Executive Order 821, which determined a maximum
drug retail price (MDROP) for five drugs related to leading causes of death
in the Philippines. Additionally, generic products that are listed in EO 821
cannot be sold above the maximum drug retail price.

President Arroyo also accepted a letter from pharmaceutical companies in which
they state that they will undertake a voluntary reduction of prices of sixteen
medicines that are commonly used and are expensive. The price differentials
that result due to the lowering of the drug prices are to be taken on by the
manufacturers, instead of the retailers.

Under Executive Order 821, the following medicines are affected: anti-cholesterol
drug Atorvastatin, anti-hypertensive drug Amlodipine, anti-cancer drug Cytarabine,
and the antibiotic drug Azitrhomycin. The voluntary reduction on 16 medicines
included drugs to treat diabetes, common infections, hypertension, amoebiasis
and some cancers.

Francisco T. Duque III, the Health Secretary of the Philippines, stated that
all drug retail outlets including drugstores and hospital pharmacies are to
implement the drug price reductions. The Department of Health has set up complaints
desks in the offices of all Centers for Health Development to receive calls
and reports in reference to non-compliance by drug retail outlets. Non-compliance
will result in penalties and sanctions.

The price reduction of selected pharmaceuticals aims to increase the affordability
of drugs, make patients more compliant with medicine courses, and improve the
health and quality of life of patients.