A senior citizen’s complaint

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Friday, July 25, 2014


DR. BILLY JACA, one of Cebu's known eye specialists, is contemplating on filing a complaint against an uptown pharmacy before the Office of the Senior Citizens Association (Osca) at City Hall.

Last Wednesday evening, Jaca blew his top inside Rose Pharmacy in Fuente Osmeña when a store attendant claimed they didn’t have a stock of the medicines he was purchasing after he asked for a discount being a senior citizen.

Jaca said that after lining up for several minutes waiting for his turn to be served, he presented a prescription to the attendant, who checked the availability of the medicines through the computer. The attendant confirmed they had a stock of the medicines.

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Jaca then told the attendant that he would buy the said items. But when he told her that he is a senior citizen and would avail of the discount, the attendant went inside their office. Minutes later another personnel, who introduced himself as the drugstore supervisor, told Jaca that they had run out of the medicines he wanted to buy.

Jaca then told the supervisor: “Are you claiming you do not have the medicines because you don’t want to give me a senior citizen’s discount?” He then presented to them his senior citizen's ID and a pamphlet. Jaca argued with the supervisor and did not leave until the drug store was able to produce the prescribed medicines.

At one time, the supervisor questioned Jaca's authority to prescribe his own medicines (needed for his heart ailment) when he is an ophthalmologist. Jaca told them that he passed the general medicine board exam before he specialized in ophthalmology, so he can therefore prescribe his own medicines.

The pharmacy was eventually forced to produce the medicines by getting these from their other branch. It was obviously meant to justify their earlier denial that they had stocks of the medicine.

Months ago, I received a complaint against the same store. If they did it to Jaca, who is doctor, there is no reason why they won’t do it to ordinary citizens. Even the store owner refused to talk with Jaca.

Section 4 of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens’ Act of 2010 states that, “The senior citizen shall be entitled to the following: a) the grant of twenty percent discount and exemption from the value added tax (VAT), if applicable, on the sale of the following goods and services from all establishments, for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of the senior citizen:

1) On the purchase of medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pnuemococcal vaccines, and such other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health;

(The provision states: “The DOH shall establish guidelines and mechanisms of compulsory rebates in sharing the burden of discounts among retailers, manufacturers and distributors, taking into consideration their respective margins.”

2) On the professional fees of attending physician/s in all private hospitals, medical facilities, patient clinic and home health care services;

3) On the professional fees of licensed professional health providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies;

4) On medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fee in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinic and home health care services in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the DOH in accordance with the Philippine Health insurance Corporation (Philhealth);

5 & 6 is discount in land, air and sea transportation based on the actual fare and advanced booking;

7) On the utilization of services and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and
recreation centers;

8) On admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses,
leisure and amusement;

9) On funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 26, 2014.

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