PGMA acted with prudence in imposing drug price ceilings, says Palace

July 15, 2009 9:15 am 

MANILA, July 15 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo only acted with prudence in not immediately imposing price ceilings on medicines as doing otherwise “could send wrong signals to the foreign community.”

This was the explanation of Deputy Presidential Spokesperson for Economic Matters Gary Olivar by way of rationalizing President Arroyo’s 10-day ultimatum to pharmaceutical firms to reduce their prices by half.

“The President tried to balance the impact of the maximum retail prices to her efforts to attract and maintain foreign investments in the country, and in a way to keep jobs here, in the face of recessionary environment abroad,” Olivar said in a press briefing this afternoon in Malacanang.

Though the Cheaper Medicines Act provided the President with the authority to impose maximum retail prices, it does not mandate or compel her to do so, according to Olivar. “Which is why President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo opted to give the drug companies 10 days to reduce their prices by half."

Asked if the Palace would be happy if the drug companies decide to reduce prices by only a few centavos, Olivar said: “If you talk about drug prices like P50, P70 or P100, a few-centavo reduction is not satisfactory and could be a reason for the President to think if that was a bona fide compliance to her order or not. This could also be a ground for her to start thinking about imposing maximum retail prices, or a price control regime.”

The ideal situation, he said, would be a voluntary compliance by the drug companies to reduce their prices, in a practicable and credible manner to a level the President can best serve the public welfare. (PNA)



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