IN an impoverished country, like the Philippines, the overpricing of medicine by drug companies is, without doubt, an unconscionable act that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Admittedly, many Filipinos, notably those in the countryside, still seek the help of quack doctors and faith healers because of the prohibitive costs of drugs and medical services in the country.
That’s why we support President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s announcement that he wants affordable medicines from India.
President Duterte, the first Mindanaoan to occupy the top political post of the land, made the announcement Tuesday night during his bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.
At their bilateral talks held at the Philippine International Convention Center, Duterte expressed the country’s eagerness to welcome Indian investments to provide affordable medicines to Filipinos.
Certainly, urging Indians to provide Filipinos with affordable medicines is, in our view, a correct move.
Particularly for the poorest of the poor who can barely provide for their daily food needs and who must also contend with diseases.
At the same time, Duterte, a lawyer and a long-time mayor of Davao City, said Americans don’t recommend generic medicines since they won’t make money out of them.
“That’s the truth. You buy branded medicines. There are so many stories about cheaper, almost socialized pricing for the medicine,” Duterte told the Indian head of state.
The hard-hitting Duterte assured PM Modi that “if there’s an investor that could be interested, an Indian citizen of yours who would want to venture in our place, we would be happy.”
In the view of many, the availability of low-priced but quality medicine is a must for the survival of the poor, who comprise the bulk of the country’s burgeoning population.