Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Health Alliance for Truth and Justice activities

Health Alliance for Truth and Justice invites you to the following activities :

February 29,2pm, Interfaith rally,meeting place is at the Rustan's Ayala entrance, Ayala Avenue

March 5, 1pm Forum with Engr. Jun Lozada, in coordination with the White Ribbon Movement and the ALL UP WORKERS UNION, Science Hall, PGH Central Block, Taft, Manila

Luring Doctors and Nurses ‘A Crime’

Published: February 22, 2008
New York Times

Rich countries are poaching so many African health workers that the practice should be viewed as a crime, a team of international disease experts say in the British medical journal The Lancet. More than 13,000 doctors trained in sub-Saharan Africa are now practicing in Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia, leaving behind colleagues with impossible caseloads. African nurses and pharmacists are also sought after by clinics and drug store chains offering better pay and legal assistance with immigration, said the experts, who include the heads of several pharmacy and medicine schools in Africa. “The resulting dilapidation of health infrastructure contributes to a measurable and foreseeable public health crisis,” the article said. “The practice should therefore be viewed as an international crime.”

Pinoys’ main concerns are job security, health – survey

By Ted P. Torres
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Philippine Star

More Filipinos are expressing concerns on job security, migration and healthcare as they increasingly reduce attention on political and economic issues, a global online survey indicated.

In an Internet-based survey conducted by Nielsen, a leading market research firm offering customized research, retail measurements, consumer panel service and media measurement research, it said 47 percent of Filipinos polled expressed concerns over job security, slightly higher than the 45 percent covering the first semester of 2007.

In addition, healthcare concerns have increased from 23 percent in the second half of 2006 to 42 percent in the second semester of 2007.

The survey added that another critical issue showed that Filipinos led the global list with regards to migration issues.

However, Nielsen Phils. managing director Benedicto L. Cid Jr. said this could directly be related to job security concerns and overseas employment.

“Filipinos are still looking outside for more job opportunities and security elsewhere,” he said.

Compared with the Asia Pacific regional average of two percent, the Philippines registered an average of 10 percent of total respondents, with New Zealand coming in second over the issue of migration with six percent.

The Nielsen survey also showed that Filipinos are increasingly optimistic about job prospects.The Philippines got a plus six in optimism rating versus the extreme rating of minus 11 for job optimism in Japan.

The survey also reflected that concerns over the economy has consistently waned, which likely indicates that those surveyed feel that the economy is improving.

In the period July to Dec. 2006, 68 percent of those surveyed expressed concern over the economy. By the last semester of 2007, only 39 percent were looking at the economy as a major concern, the survey said.

In the past five readings of the survey starting the second half of 2005, the Philippine consumer confidence index has been improving from a rating of 93 points in 2005 to 108 in the last semester in 2007. The global average last year is 94 points.

One specific portion of the survey showed that there is an increasing interest in putting spare or surplus cash in savings. The Philippines got a survey level of 64 percent covering the last half of 2007 from 57 in the same period in 2006, ranking it third overall among all the countries covered by the survey.

After savings, the second highest priority of Filipinos with extra cash is the purchase of new clothing, followed By the acquisition of new technology such as mobile phones and laptops. The fourth priority is paying off of debts including credit cards and bank loans, followed by home improvements and decoration.

Philhealth thumbs down proposed hospital for OFWs

The head of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. rejected on Wednesday proposals in the Senate to put up a hospital exclusively for overseas Filipino workers and their dependents.

Lorna O. Fajardo, acting Philhealth president and chief executive officer, said at a joint public hearing of the Senate committees on health and labor that it would be more sensible to use the money intended for the proposed hospital to augment existing medical facilities run by the government.

“Another hospital that cannot be fully equipped will just add up to the number of ill-equipped hospitals, “ Fajardo pointed out.

Besides, she stressed that the needs of OFWs and members of their families are no different from those of ordinary Filipinos, and that they should not be accommodated separately.

Fajardo said there are around 700,000 OFWs enrolled in Philhealth, each contributing P900 membership fee before going to their destination countries.

While Fajardo acknowledges that there are certain peculiarities in the OFWS’ cases, she said Philhealth does not support putting up a separate hospital exclusively for migrant workers.

Senate President Protempore Jinggoy Estrada filed in July Senate Bill 421, or the Migrant Workers Hospital Act of 2007, to ensure availability, accessibility of comprehensive health-care services to all migrant workers and their dependents.

Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. and Sen. Lito Lapid also filed separate bills for the construction of an OFW medical facility.

Vilar's bill appropriates P5 million as government's contribution for the initial operations and maintenance of the "OFW Medical Center." It also provides that the government would "contribute the necessary land, building equipment and facilities" to the hospital.

Estrada, who chairs the Senate labor committee, asked resource persons invited to the public hearing on Wednesday if putting up a 50-bed hospital for OFWs would be a better option than accrediting existing medical facilities to cater to migrant workers’ health needs.

The OFW hospital is proposed to be supervised by the Overseas Workers Welfare administration (OWWA) and will initially serve OFWs who have paid their dues and their legal dependents.

It was intended to complement the existing package of services under the Medical Care Program (Philhealth) so as to include preventive, promotive, diagnostic, curative and rehabilitative programs.

“We can’t take for granted the indispensable role played by our modern heroes. Aside from their skills and experiences, an important capital that they have possessed is their health," Estrada said in justifying the proposal.

In the course of the discussions, Estrada said having an OFW hospital would no longer be necessary if existing government hospitals would be willing to attend to the health needs of OFWs and their dependents.

The proposed hospital, he said, could be built using funds from OFWs’ contributions through OWWA. “We can even establish the hospital in the compound of the Veterans Medical Memorial Center," Estrada said.

“I know the place very well, having stayed there for two years," he jested, referring to his detention there in 2001 until he was allowed to post bail in 2003 as a co-accused of his father in a plunder case.

For her part, Sen. Pia Cayetano, who chairs the health and demography committee, said the proposed hospital could serve as a “processing center" to check on health needs of OFWs for referral to other Philhealth-accredited hospitals.

But Cayetano said she has strong reservations against putting up a new hospital for OFWs, considering that most OFWs are not based in Manila where the medical facility is proposed to be built.

Rhodora Abaro of the Center for Migrant Advocacy said about 50 percent of OFWs and their relatives come from Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), the National Capital Region (Metro Manila), and Central Luzon, while the rest are spread in the Visayas and Mindanao.

She suggested that the intended beneficiaries be properly consulted on the proposal, noting that it would be their money that would be used to build and operate the facility.

“It’s the OFWs’ money, they should be consulted about it," Abaro said in an interview with GMANews.TV.

While the benefits of the proposed OFW hospital can only be availed of by documented workers, Estrada suggested that undocumented OFWs should also be entitled to its services.

“Like documented OFWS, these undocumented workers also send money to the country," he said.

Estrada said that he would organize a technical working group to look into the prospect of addressing the needs of undocumented OFWs. - Mark J. Ubalde, GMANews.TV

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

GMA 7's Imbestigador : Poor patients suffer from declining government subsidy to public hospitals

This video came out on GMA-7's Imbestigador

Due to government's declining subsidy to public hospitals, poor patients cannot get regular treatment. Imbestigador ng Bayan visited the National Kidney and Transplant Institute to look into the situation of dialysis service patients there.(

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Health workers want corruption stamped out

Manila Times
February 24, 2008

Health professionals belonging to the Health Alliance for Truth and Justice want corruption stamped out in the country.

“Some 20 percent of the national budget goes to corruption, and seven out of 10 official development aid projects are mostly white elephants that do not deliver economic benefits,” said Dr. Darby Santiago, an alliance convenor.

Santiago decried that corruption means a small health budget that cannot support hospitals like the Philippine General Hospital that has not seen a budget raise in the last 10 years.

The $130-million or P6.5- billion kickback for the scrapped national broadband deal would have paid for antibiotic medication for seven days for 6.5 million patients; anti-tuberculosis treatment for almost 1.1 million patients for six months; and would represent five times the annual budget of Philippine General Hospital that serves around 600,000 patients a year, said Santiago.

If given to the health sector, it would prevent health workers from leaving the country, giving subsistence allowance for 70,000 public health workers for the next five years, or P3,000 across-the-board wage increase of all government health personnel for the next two years.

It would also pay for 15,000 surgeries at P600,000 each, or 49,000 open-heart surgeries at P200,000 each; or 325 cataract surgeries.

Health sector joins the calls for truth and justice

Health Alliance for Truth and Justice
2/F Dona Anita Bldg., 284 E. Rodriguez Ave. , Quezon
City Tel. 725-4760

Reference : Dr. Darby Santiago, Convenor
Vice-chairperson, Health Alliance for Democracy

Diagnosing the corruption of the Arroyo government
Health sector joins the calls for truth and justice

“Moderate the greed”, a memorable phrase out of the ZTE-NBN broadband investigation, is a desperate expression that demonstrates the insolent corruption and the venality of the Arroyo government.

The political rut uncovered by the ZTE-NBN scam, and the ensuing exposé made by Engr. Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, again only underscores the systemic and endemic corruption in Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s leadership since she stepped into power. It is a presidency often described as “among the most corrupt in Asia” by various independent watchdogs and monitors like the Transparency International.

The country has never been so embroiled in multi-million corruption scandals than the current
dispensation. Its laundry list of shady deals date back to the Diosdado Macapagal highway (overpriced by P536M), the fertilizer scam (P728M funds for farmers stolen by Usec Bolante), North Luzon Rail project (suspiciously priced at $503M), and the P500,000 cash gifts to Arroyo’s political allies at the height of an impeachment complaint.

As a matter of fact, it is reported that 20% of the national budget goes to corruption. According to the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism(PCIJ), 7 out of 10 official development aid (ODAs) are mostly white elephants and really do not deliver the economic benefits. These ODA’s only serve as opportunities for exacting kickbacks and enriching those in power.

Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health sector who attend to our people’s health bear witness to how corruption and the insatiable greed of the ruling political elite is taking its toll on the public health care system. Corruption directly translates to the paltry health budget, so sorely insufficient that it cannot effect any palpable change in the country’s health indicators. Money should be used to help save lives, mitigate epidemics, prevent the rise of infectious diseases, and improve the well-being of ordinary Filipinos. Instead, this money
is stolen from government funds and enjoyed by a privileged few.

The conditions of public hospitals can be exemplified by Philippine General Hospital (PGH), which has not experienced any significant raise in gov’t subsidy in the last 10 years. What more for the small rural health units in far-flung areas? The very same pervasive corruption erodes the interest of health professionals to do practice in this country. The national gov’t can never veil the dismal reality of the health crisis experienced by patients and health care providers alike.

Now, Jun Lozada, who has courageously chosen to stand by the truth, has become the target of attack by the vindictive Arroyo administration. What message is being delivered to our people? Moderate the greed.

We cannot allow this to go on. We cannot the stranglehold of a political mafia to go on.

We call on all concerned doctors, nurses, and other members of the health sector to join us in our stand, in our struggle truth, accountability, and justice. Wherever we may be, in hospitals, clinics, schools, and in the streets, we must lend our voice to the growing clamor of the people for real change. We must exercise our patriotic duties. As concerned citizens, let us take active steps to ensure our democratic interests are protected.

Seek the Truth, Fight corruption.

Understanding the health economics of the ZTE kickback

Government’s skewed priorities and insatiable corruption are exemplified in the ZTE-NBN scam. Just to assess the venality of this administration, the colossal P6.5 billion (US$ 130 million) “commission” demanded by former COMELEC Chair Benjamin Abalos is
enough to cover:

 15,000 kidney transplant surgeries at
P600,000 each
 49,000 open-heart surgeries costing at least
P200,000 each
 325,000 cataract surgeries
 6,500,000 patients for a seven day course of
 the medication of 1,083, 333 TB patients on
the estimated cost of
 Php 6,000, administered in six months
 5 times the current budget of the Philippine
General Hospital (PGH), the country’s leading
goverment hospital, which serves around 600,000
patients a year, with an admission rate of 4, 000
cases a month.
 the subsistence allowance for 70, 000 public
health workers for the next five years.
 a P3, 000 across the board wage increase of
all government health personnel health for the next
2 years.

The Culture of Corruption Must End, Gloria OUT Now!

Press Statement
22 February 2008
References: Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, 0920 460 3712

Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health sector under Rx Gloria Out Now! (Rx GO Now!) today join teachers, priests, students, and the broad masses in the tying of white ribbons along Taft Avenue to symbolize the quest for truth and accountability amidst the culture of corruption that has characterized the administration of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Even as the scandalous ZTE-National Broadband Network continues to unravel, the extent of corruption has already led directly to Mrs. Arroyo and her husband, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. The Arroyo family, together with its cabal of thieves, has plundered government coffers and has run the country like its own business venture - getting multi-million dollar profits from shady deals that do not benefit the people.

The litany of corruption cases involving the Arroyos reads like a listing of major government projects: IMPSA (Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona Sociedad Anonima) Hydro-electric Power Plant US$14 M kickbacks, the President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard P536M overpricing, the NAIA 3/PIATCo contract anomaly worth US$100M in kickbacks, among others.

Yet even with the most high-profile cases, the involved government officials go scot-free: former justice secretary Hernani Perez (who was allegedly given a US$ 2M bribe by Mark Jimenez), agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante (of the P728M fertilizer scam), and national security adviser Norberto Gonzalez (who still cannot explain the Venable contract where a US-based lobby group would lobby for US support for charter change in the Philippines).

Kickbacks. Commissions. Bribes. The utter lack of accountability did nothing to moderate the greed of high-ranking public officials. Rather they have been numbed into committing more atrocities under the complicity of the Arroyos. Former Commission on Elections chair Benjamin Abalos was not content with a US$ 65M "commission" and insisted on US$ 130M. Bubukol ito, sir.

The people's outrage cannot be contained. The morally bankrupt leadership of Mrs. Arroyo cannot be allowed to go on. This tyranny and treachery must end. If Mrs. Arroyo recognizes the historical and political significance of EDSA II, then she must submit to the will of the people: Gloria OUT Now! ###

Health workers hit the Arroyo government's attempts to cover-up GMA corruption on NBN-ZTE deal

14 February 2008

"Enough of gov't lies! The people deserves to know the truth." said health workers who trooped to the Senate today to express support for Mr. Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada and denounce the systematic ploy to discredit Mr. Lozada and cover-up the massive corruption exemplified by the NBN-ZTE scam.

Amidst Lozada's politically damaging exposé, Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), together with members of Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) held an extended protest against the unbridled corruption in government after a picket-dialogue at the Department of Health (DOH) to demand for a P1,5000 monthly subsistence allowance.

Health workers expressed support for whistle-blower Lozada by bringing white roses to symbolize his courage to stand for the truth. They also brought black hearts for those senators with an ostensible bias against him, particularly Senators Arroyo, Defensor-Santiago, and Enrile. These solons attempted to trivialize the Senate hearings as a mere grandstanding venue for the 2010 elections.

"We denounce attempts to silence Lozada. We denounce the complicity of high ranking officials leading up to Mrs. Arroyo, all of whom are responsible for the kidnapping and threats to Mr. Lozada's life." according to Dr. Darby Santiago, HEAD vice-chairperson.

The barrage of pathetic and embarrassing lies that littered the testimonies of DENR Secretary Lito Atienza and Gen. Avelino Razon backfired on them and served only to fan the flames of public outrage. Even former DENR secretary, Mike Defensor, resurrected to reprise his role as official administration liar, also revived public disgust.

"The way the Arroyo regime is mobilizing its allies only shows the extent of its desperation to hide its pandemic corruption", said Dr. Santiago. ""Hypocrisy has never been so bad, utterly pathetic!"

HEAD also assailed the Arroyo government's cheap diversionary tactic of dividing public attention, stifling dissent, and token but useless investigations such as those being undertaken by the so-called Anti-Red Tape Task Force and the Procurement Transparency Group. Even the Office of the Ombudsman was awakened from its stuporous existence to allegedly investigate corruption cases.

Government health workers, as well as the entire health care delivery system bear the brunt of incessant corruption of the Arroyo regime, which siphons off much needed funds for health worker benefits and social services to the people so as to feed its insatiable greed.

Health workers vowed to join continued protests until truth and justice is served and Mrs. Arroyo is out.###

Dr. Darby Santiago
Vice-Chair, 0917 477 9230

Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos
Secretary-General, 0916 214 5724

"JPEPA Will Enslave Filipino Nurses and Caregivers!"- HEAD

Press Statement
20 February 2008

Scabs in a foreign land, slaves in their own. This is the sad fate that awaits Filipino nurses and caregivers if the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) is ratified by the Senate. This is the sad fate that the Arroyo administration is pushing for in exchange for greater revenues from remittances and illusory gains in trade investments.

According to Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), a national organization of health professionals, workers, and students, the provisions of JPEPA ensure that Japan will enjoy the services of quality and competent Filipino health personnel without providing the attendant rights, compensation, and benefits.

"Under the pretext of stringent requirements, JPEPA institutionalizes 'labor casualization', where Filipino nurses and caregivers in Japan will be maintained at a "casual" status, thereby denying them their job tenure and due compensation." according to Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos, HEAD Secretary-General. "This anti-workers practice will be given a mantle of legality if JPEPA is ratified."

In fact, shorn of deceptive propaganda, the alleged job opportunities awaiting nurses and caregivers in Japan is nothing more than attempts of the Japanese gov't to skirt the issue of providing their own nurses and caregivers the compensation they demand. In short, Japan is hiring Filipino nurses and caregivers to do work that the Japanese gov't is unwilling to pay its own nurses and caregivers for!
"Our nurses and caregivers will be looked upon by their colleagues as scabs when they reach Japan." added Dr. Nisperos.

On the other hand, Dr. Darby Santiago, HEAD Vice-Chair, warned that because of patently onerous provisions of JPEPA, even when health related investments in the country are made, Filipino health workers will still be at the losing end.
"Under JPEPA, when Japanese investments set up health institutions in the Philippines, they can maintain Filipino health personnel as rank-and-file while reserving management and higher positions for Japanese nationals." said Dr. Santiago. "The names may be different but the end result of exploitation is the same: cheap labor in the Philippines, cheap labor in Japan."

"This is what happens when health personnel and services are put on the trading block, next to tuna, bananas, and other Philippine export products." continued Dr. Santiago. "Sadly, when Filipino nurses and caregivers are treated as commodities that can be bartered for investments/capital, the Arroyo gov't is competing in a race to the bottom."

For Dr. Nisperos, JPEPA sets a very bad precedent as a trade agreement and undermines the rights and welfare of thousands of health personnel working abroad. "Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has exploited the growing need and marketability of skilled Filipinos in the so-called 'global market'. World-class and globally-competitive should not mean enslavement to the neocolonial demands of developed countries."

For Dr. Santiago, "JPEPA is so heavily biased in favor of Japanese interests it constitutes a betrayal of national interests to which Mrs. Arroyo should be held accountable."

HEAD is calling for the Senate to junk JPEPA and put an end to the labor export policy of the Arroyo regime. "Instead of providing career opportunities and a better working environment for nurses to stay and serve in our country, Mrs. Arroyo has perpetuated the miserably state of our health care system and the slave wages of our health personnel, thereby effectively pushing them to seek greener pastures abroad. This must end." concluded Dr. Santiago. ###

Dr. Darby Santiago
Vice-Chair, 0917 477 9230

Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos
Secretary-General, 0916 214 5724

Doctors stand against corruption, hold GMA and cohorts accountable

Press Statement
10 February 2008

Doctors stand against corruption, hold GMA and cohorts accountable

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), together with concerned physicians and other allied health professionals today joins the growing public outcry against corruption and holds the Arroyo government fully accountable.

Despite the demolition efforts of Malacañang to destroy the credibility of Rodolfo "Jun" Lozano, a vital witness to the multi-million dollar National Broadband Network/NBN-ZTE scam, the Filipino people who stand for truth and accountability will be firmly on his side.

Mr. Lozano's continuing testimony on the greed-driven, corruption-tainted NBN-ZTE deal has underscored the involvement of First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, former Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos, Sr. and other high-ranking government officials who have transformed the national government into their own business venture through which they seek not only to profit but to profit handsomely.

The cabal of Arroyo henchmen and cronies is running this country like a Mafia, concocting white elephants at will if only to get hefty kickbacks. Their system of corruption has been institutionalized by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself, callously enriching herself while allowing public funds for social services to dwindle.

The US$197 million overprice in the $329 NBN-ZTE deal is already enough to cover the medical operation of 15,000 kidney transplant patients (at P600,000 each) and 49,000 open-heart surgeries (at least P200,000.00 each). Yet the amount is supposed to cover only the commission of Chairman Abalos for brokering the deal. The greed of one over the needs of thousands deserves nothing but the most hostile outrage.

HEAD also strongly condemns the abduction and mental torture experienced by Mr. Lozano at the hands of the Philippine National Police. Official kidnapping as a policy of the Arroyo administration demonstrates the extent of what the current dispensation is willing to do to cover-up its hideous acts of unbridled corruption.

HEAD calls on well-meaning government officials and civil servants, including the rank-and-file, to uphold integrity and professionalism above all. HEAD calls on them to follow the example set by Mr. Lozano and reveal what they know of other anomalous, graft-ridden deals that this government has entered into using the people's money as capital and the people's lives as collateral.

HEAD is resolved to arrest the sinister acts of the Arroyo regime. In whatever form of mass actions, the people must unite and gather its strength to punish the Arroyo government, which for the last seven years has undermined the people's interest, plundered the national coffers, and mortgaged the future of this nation.###

Dr. Darby Santiago
Vice-Chair, 0917 477 9230

Dr. Geneve E. Rivera
Deputy Secretary-General, 0920 460 3712

On Affordable Medicine Act and the proposed 'generics only' prescribing

Reference : Dr. Julie Caguiat
c/o Community Medicine Development Foundation
Rm 610 6/F Dona Felisa Syjuco Bldg. Remedios cor Taft
Avenue, Manila
Mobile no. 0916-2358101, Tel. no. 567-0394

On Affordable Medicine Act and the proposed generics
prescribing of HB 2844
Position Paper Community Medicine Practitioners and
Advocates Association (COMPASS)

Having passed the Senate and Congress in separate
discussions, HB 2844 and SB 1658 or more popularly
known as the Affordable Medicine Act is but a stone
throw away from its passage.

We believe that the public should not be misled on the
issues that hound the Affordable Medicine Act prior to
its passage. While legislators and opinion-makers
debate on the provision that removes the doctor’s
prerogative of putting brand names aside from generic
names in their prescription, the matter must not be
interpreted as a doctor-versus-patient issue. Rather
it must be viewed as a strong public clamor for safe,
needed and efficacious medicine against the
government’s lack of decisive steps to ensure that the
majority of poor patients are given access to quality
and affordable medicines.

If any legislation that aims to provide accessible and
affordable medicine is to be meaningful to ordinary
Filipinos, then the real issues at hand are...creating
a National Drug Industry, protecting and giving
incentives to local drug manufacturers, and serious
implementation of the National Drug Policy (including
the Generics Act) and creating an accountable Drug
Price Regulatory Board. We at COMPASS believe that
unless these essential issues are enjoined with full
public participation, then the objective of addressing
a long-standing problem will again be missed.

The Generics Act of 1988 should seriously be
implemented by the government. Moreover, we believe
that the public should be well informed about the
Generics Law and Rational Drug Use (RDU) through
massive information campaigns and education drives.

COMPASS subscribes to the use of generic medicine. We
are for the use of safe and affordable generic
medicine that have gone through extensive research and
testing for efficacy. The prescription of what a
doctor believes is a potent drug for a certain
illness, the preference for specific drugs or
regimens, is borne of an earnest desire to heal and is
based on the physician’s commitment to the overall
well-being of his or her patient.

The existence and proliferation of substandard drugs
is a sad and undeniable reality in the Philippine
society. A more tragic reality is the continued
failure of government’s regulating agencies, the
Department of Health (DOH) and the Bureau of Food and
Drugs (BFAD), in regulating the quality and potency of
essential medicine. Proof of this is the continuous
proliferation of ineffective, substandard, and
potentially harmful drugs.

Until government strictly enforces its own regulations
and closely monitors the manufacture of essential
medicine, we cannot blame thousands of doctors and
patients if they continue to have preferences in their
choices medicine to use or prescribe. This can only be
done through nationalization of the drug industry,
where the government can have direct control over the
production and distribution of essential medicines for
Filipinos. Only then can safe and efficacious generic
medicine can be accessible to millions of marginalized


Edelina de la Paz, MD Ramon Paterno, MD
Sylvia de la Paz, MD Julie P. Caguiat, MD