IN a bid to improve the health condition of Filipinos, a lawmaker is pushing for free medicines for the poor.
House Bill 3753 or the Free Medicine for the Poor Act introduced by Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas aims to provide better access to medicines and quality health care.
Quoting the World Health Organization, Vargas explained that the major causes of death in low income countries can be treated effectively with simple essential medicines.
Vargas also cited a 2011 study which identified insufficient access to low cost, safe, and quality essential medicines as one of the issues confronting the Philippine System. It has been observed that medicines are only available 33% of the time and that medicines covered by PhilHealth are often not available in authorized outlets.
“Low income patients have no choice. Either they are left untreated or face high, out-of-pocket expenses for medicines,” Vargas said.
“Ang kalusugan ay hindi lang para sa mayayaman. Karapatan ito ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino,” he added.
The bill mandates for the nationwide establishment of a Free Medicine Assistance Program to be administered by the Department of Health through government district hospitals, local health units and barangay health centers.
This Libreng Gamot Program shall be restricted to qualified poor beneficiaries as certified by the Barangay and by the Department of Social Welfare and Development officials.
“Through this initiative, we are giving the less-fortunate better chances of survival from curable ailments, thereby improving their health and well-being overall,” Vargas said.