Hontiveros urges DOH to name pharma firms blocking move for cheaper medicines

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2019   •   672

Senator Risa Hontiveros

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros urges the Department of Health (DOH) to identify the pharmaceutical firms that are reportedly blocking the move to lower the price of medicines.

“Nanawagan ako sa DOH na pangalanan ang mga pharmaceutical companies na mas inuuna pa ang kanilang malalaking tubo at kita kaysa sa buhay at kalusugan ng mamamayan. Sa panahon na kaliwa’t kanan ang epidemiya at mga nagkakasakit, ang presyo ng gamot ay hindi dapat dagdag-pasakit,” Hontiveros said during the Senate plenary deliberation of DOH’s budget for 2020 on Tuesday night.

She said there is reportedly a strong lobby from several pharmaceutical companies opposing the proposed use of government’s regulatory powers under the Republic Act 9502 or the Cheaper Medicines Act to lower the “unfair and anti-poor” prices of much-needed medicines nationwide.

The DOH earlier listed around 120 high-cost medicines that will be recommended for price reduction under a maximum drug retail price (MDRP) scheme.

These medicines particularly treat leading diseases and conditions including diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases and different types of cancers.

“While I welcome the willingness of pharmaceutical companies to work towards improving the country’s healthcare system, I would like to remind them that it is the exorbitant prices of medicines charged in both public and private sectors which have undermined the effective delivery of health services, to the detriment of poor and even middle-class families,” Hontiveros said.

She also maintained that prices of medicines in the Philippines “remain high,” and “out of reach” of the majority of Filipinos.

Hontiveros cited a study commissioned by the DOH which states that the medicine prices in the country are still significantly higher than the international reference prices.

DOH logs 3,962 new cases in confirmed COVID-19 list

Maris Federez   •   September 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reports that the total number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases is now at 283,460 as of 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 19, 2020.

This, after 3,962 newly-confirmed cases were added to the list.

The DOH likewise announced 1,128 recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries to 209,885.

The health department’s latest bulletin showed that of the 3,962 reported cases today, 3,286 (83%) occurred within the recent 14 days (September 6 – September 19, 2020).

The top regions with cases in the recent two weeks were the NCR with 1,199 (36%), Region 4A with 780 (24%) and Region 3 with 446 (14%).

Of the 100 deaths, 66 occurred in September (66%), 16 in August (16%) 7 in July (7%) 4 in June (4%) and 7 in April (7%).  

Twenty-seven (27) duplicates were removed from the total case count. Of these, 15 were recovered cases, the report added. Another patient who recovered was verified to be a foreign national and was also removed from the total case count.

On the other hand, 17 cases which were previously tagged as recovered were reclassified as deaths after final validation.

The department further reported that 10 laboratories were not able to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System (CDRS) on September 18, 2020. These laboratories are:

  1. Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center
  2. Dr. Jorge P. Royeca Hospital
  3. Kaiser Medical Center Inc.
  4. Lanao del Norte Covid-19 Testing Laboratory
  5. Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (GX)
  6. Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (RT-PCR)
  7. Research Institute for Tropical Medicine
  8. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics
  9. Taguig City Molecular Laboratory
  10. Valenzuela Hope Molecular Laboratory

The DOH said the numbers they receive undergo constant cleaning and validation. — /mbmf

Expect surge in COVID-19 cases as test results from over 30 labs are delayed – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) sees a surge in the number of cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the coming days as over 30 laboratories in the country are still yet to submit their respective cases bulletin to the agency. 

The DOH said 34 out of the 115 licensed testing laboratories have delayed results in their COVID-19 tests. 

“This means there are confirmed cases per day that have not been reported yet officially and will come out this week,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

“We may have an irregularly high number of cases in the coming days as cases from these laboratories get reported. We will ensure to highlight which of these cases are late reports,” she added.

The DOH points at incomplete information such as patients’ address and contact number as the cause of the delays in submitting their case bulletins. 

Such information is vital to the contract tracing efforts of the government. 

On September 1, the DOH required the testing laboratories to encode all information of their patients because the agency’s COVID-19 Data Repository System does not accept incomplete information.

“The main factor was the change in or the additional two variables–the complete address and the phone numbers that were stated to be mandatory,” Vergeire said.

“Hindi makakapasok or makaka-upload sa system noong kanilang submission if hindi kumpleto ang kanilang fields doon sa kanilang CIFs na isa-submit sa atin [They will not be able to enter or upload their submission into our system if the fields in the CIFs are incomplete],” she stressed.

Nonetheless, the official confirmed that the results have been gradually coming in from the concerned laboratories since Tuesday (September 8).

Once the results from these laboratories are submitted, expect an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the DOH’s overall tally.

Should these laboratories still fail to submit their reports next week, Vergeire said the DOH will push to sanction them. 

34 Labs failed to submit their data to the COVID-19 Data Repository System 

1. AL Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

2. Amosup Seamen’s Hospital

3. Bohol Containerized PCR Laboratory

4. Butuan Medical Center

5. Cagayan Valley CHD TB Reference Laboratory

6. Calamba Medical Center

7. Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital

8. Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Memorial Hospital

9. Daniel O. Mercado Medical Center

10. Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory

11. Dr. Arturo P. Pingoy Medical Center

12. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center

13. Green City Medical Center

14. Hi-Precision Diagnostics  QC

15. Ilocos Training Regional Medical Center (GX)

16. Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory

17. Marilao Medical and Diagnostic Clinic

18. NKTI – GX

19. Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory

20. Philippine Heart Center

21. Philippine Red Cross

22. Philippine Red Cross – Clark Mol Lab (PAMPANGA)

23. Philippine Red Cross – Logistics and Training- SUBIC, ZAMBALES

24. Philippine Red Cross – Molecular Biology Laboratory

25. Philippine Red Cross – PLMC Laboratory

26. Philippine Red Cross – Port Area

27. Qualimed Hospital – San Jose del Monte

28. Qualimed Hospital Sta. Rosa

29. Safeguard DNA Diagnostics

30. San Lazaro Hospital

31. San Miguel Foundation Testing Laboratory

32. The Doctors Hospital, Inc.

33. Tondo Medical Center

34. University of Perpetual Help System Dalta

SOURCE: DOH

MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Pasyenteng hindi makakabayad ng bill, bawal pigilang lumabas ng ospital – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Pina-alalahanan ng Department of Health (DOH) ang mga ospital sa bansa na hindi maaaring pigilin ang paglabas ng isang pasyente na kulang ang pera o walang maipambayad sa ospital.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, sang-ayon ito sa Republic Act 9439 o ang Anti-Hospital Detention Act.

Ginawa ng DOH ang paalala matapos makatanggap ng impormasyon na may pribadong ospital umano na nag-detain ng isang pasyente dahil walang maipambayad sa hospital bill.

Paglilinaw naman ni Vergeire, obligado pa rin ang pasyente na magbayad ng kanilang bill kaya kailangan silang mag-iwan ng dokumento o identification card sa ospital upang matiyak na hindi nila tatakbuhan ang kanilang obligasyon.

“Bawal po tayo mag-detain ng ating pasyente because they cannot pay as of this time. Alam niyo naman ang mga ospital ay entities din po ang mga ito na gumagastos and they need din po na mabayaran sila,” ang wika ni Vergeire.

“Although hindi tamang nagde-detain ng pasyente pero kailangan ang pasyente o ang pamilya ay makapag-iwan ng katunayan na babalik ka,” dagdag pa niya.

BInigyang-diin rin ng opisyal na hindi maaaring i-refer ang isang pasyente o kaanak nito sa isang lending facility para makakuha ng loan na pambayad sa ospital.

Ang maaari aniyang gawin ng pasyente ay gumawa ng sulat o promissory note para sa pagsasa-ayos ng bayarin.

“They can leave a promissory note with the promise of course that they can pay in installment kung kailangan,” ani Vergeire.

“It is also not a good practice that hospitals will be directing patients to lending facilities and all. Ang kailangan lang po that is acceptable, humihinigi lang po sila ng ID na iiwanan nila or something than can be tracked pa rin ang pasyente,” dagdag pa niya.

Paalala rin ng DOH na dapat maayos ang usapan at walang magigipit sa ganitong sitwasyon.

“It is an internal arrangement between the hospitals and patients. Una, kailangan din natin intindihin ang side ng hospital mayroon kasing naiwan na pera na hindi mababayaran,” ani Vergeire.

Kung nakaranas ng panggigipit sa mga ospital, maaaring maghain ng reklamo sa Health Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau ng DOH upang maimbestigahan ang isyu.

Alinsunod sa batas, maaaring pagmultahin ng hanggang P50,000 o kaya ay makulong ng hanggang anim na buwan ang sinumang opisyal o empleyado ng isang medical facility na mapapatunayang nanggipit ng isang pasyenteng hindi kayang barayan ang hospital bill. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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