Pooled drug purchases set as gov't enforces price caps: trade chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2020 10:46 AM | Updated as of Feb 19 2020 10:52 AM

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MANILA -- The government will pool the procurement of some medicines to comply with a new directive from President Rodrigo Duterte that capped drug prizes, his trade secretary said Wednesday.

Buying breast cancer medicine through a pool can bring down the price to P13,000 per piece from P38,000 if drug store chains ordered separately, said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.

An agency under the DTI's Philippine International Trading Corp will pool the orders in coordination with the trade and health departments, Lopez told ANC's Early Edition.

"Pooled procurement will hopefully make the reduction in prices sustainable and viable for all. This is already a go," he said.

Unlike other countries, the Philippines can't subsidize drug prices to keep them low. Manila has to spend at least P4 trillion, or roughly the size of the annual national budget, for medicine subsidies, he said.