President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo from PNA)

President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 155 on Wednesday that regulates the prices of drugs and medicines in the country to address the leading causes of morbidity.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles said on government-operated PTV News that it is “part of efforts to improve access to affordable, quality medicines and reduce the health-related expenses of Filipinos, consistent with the goals of the Universal Health Care Act”.

He said President Duterte signed the EO on December 7, which states that price regulation via maximum retail price (MRP) and/or maximum wholesale price (MW) will be imposed on 34 drug molecules and 71 drug formulas used in agents affecting:

  • Bone metabolism
  • Analgesics
  • Anesthetics
  • Anti-angina
  • Antiarrhythmics
  • Anti-asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • Anticoagulants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidiabetic drugs
  • Antidiuretics
  • Antiemetics.

The EO also covers drug molecules and formulas utilized in:

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  • Anti-glaucoma
  • Anti-hypercholesterolemia medicines
  • Antihypertensive medicines
  • Anti-neoplastic/anti-cancer medicines
  • Anti-Parkinsons disease drugs
  • Drugs for overactive bladders
  • Growth hormone inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressant drugs
  • Iron chelating agents
  • Psoriasis, seborrhea, and ichthyosis medicines

Manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, traders, and retailers must “display the retail price which shall not exceed the MRP,” according to Section 2 of the EO.

“The MRP, preceded by the terms ‘RETAIL PRICE NOT TO EXCEED’ and ‘UNDER DRUG PRICE REGULATION,’ on a red strip, shall be clearly printed on the label of the immediate container of the drug and medicine, and the minimum pack thereof offered for retail,” the EO stated.

The list of medicines and their corresponding MRPs and MWPs shall be subject to the review of the Department of Health (DOH) in consultation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) six months from the effectivity of the EO, and every six months thereafter.

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