GMA signs Cheaper Medicines Act

PNA — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday signed Republic Act no. 9502, an Act providing for cheaper and quality medicines.

The new law amends Republic Act no. 6675 or the Generics Act of 1988,Republic Act no. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code, and RepublicAct no. 5921 or the Pharmacy Law.

In signing the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, the President said the Generics Law before was incomplete.

“The importance of the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act, we nowcompleted our legislative reforms in bringing affordable medicines tothe people,” she said.

Under the new law, it allows the parallel importation of patentedmedicines from other countries where these are more affordable.

It also allows local generics firm to test, produce and register theirgeneric versions of patented drugs, so these can be sold right uponpatent expiry early working principle).

However, the new law prohibits the grant of new patents based only on newly discovered uses of a known drugs substance.

The Act also allows the government use of patented drugs when the public is at stake.

It also gives the President the power “to impose price ceilings onvarious drugs, upon the recommendation of the Health Secretary.

These drugs include those of chronic illnesses, for prevention ofdiseases, and those in the Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF)Essential Drug List.

The Act also strengthens the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) to ensurethe safety of medicines by allowing it to retain its revenues forupgrading of its facilities, equipment and human resources; and alsoensures the availability of affordable medicines by requiring drugoutlets to carry a variety of brands for each drug — including thosesourced from “parallel importation” — to give the consumer morechoices.

The new law also creates a congressional oversight committee — such asthe Quality Affordable Medicines Oversight Committee — to monitor theimplementation of the Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act.

President Arroyo, assisted by Health Secretary Francisco Duque whoaccompanied her here, also distributed some 65 PhilHealth cards toindigent residents of this town.

She then inspected the newly upgraded Laguna Chest Center building here.

The President proceeded to AMHERST Pharma Distribution Center in Binan, Laguna.