Palace urges lawmakers to regulate private hospitals

September 22, 2009 10:17 am 

MANILA, Sept. 22 — Malacañang today urged lawmakers to craft laws or conduct inquiries in aid of legislation that would help regulate the rising service fees collected by private hospitals.

Members of the Philippine Hospitals Association (PHA) increased their service fees today, allegedly to recoup losses incurred by the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Law last August 15.

In a press briefing, Deputy Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo expressed disappointment that the executive branch is hampered by limited laws to avert the rising of service fees by private hospitals.

Fajardo added the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has reimbursed private hospitals between P17 billion and P18 billion so far this year. She noted that private hospitals have other sources of profits other than the 21 pharmaceutical products whose prices have been reduced by law.

She said since it is the Department of Health (DOH) that renews the licenses of private hospitals, government and the administrators of private hospitals can talk about it and find ways to cooperate.

Presidential Spokesperson for Economic Affairs Gary Olivar, who also attended the press briefing, backed Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s challenge to private hospitals to open their financial books to see if they are indeed losing money with the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Law.

For her part, Fajardo added government is doing its best and using its power to protect public interest. The private hospitals, she stressed, should justify their increase in service fees because it is part of their social and moral responsibility to Filipinos.

Government is now implementing a 50 percent price reduction on some medicine under the maximum drug retail price (MDRP) system and a 10 percent to 50 percent price cut on other drugs through the government-mediated access price (GMAP) program. The programs were fully implemented last September 15. (PNA)

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