PAMPANGA Governor Dennis Pineda led the Sangguniang Panlalawigan hearing on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, as he called on officials of various government agencies to address alleged reports of exorbitant prices levied on coronavirus medicines for people hospitalized due to the virus.
Officials from the Department of Health, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Food and Drugs and Department of Trade and Industry were summoned to address the issue in a bid to set a price ceiling on vital coronavirus medicine.
The meeting was in preparation of the convening of the Local Price Coordinating Council (LPCC) that would set price ceilings on medicines used in treating Covid-19 patients.
Board Member Ananias Canlas Jr. said a cap on the price of medicines could be set by the LPCC and these would be pushed by a resolution from the provincial government and forwarded to the National Price Coordinating Council for approval.
Pineda wants the LPCC to set a price ceiling on coronavirus treatment medicines as he received complaints that patients and their families are made to pay exorbitant prices for their medicines.
The purchase price of Remdisivir is known to fetch P3,500 per 100-milligram vial, but some private hospitals allegedly charge between P8,000 to P22,000, a Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) official reported, which a Department of Health executive confirmed.
These exceeded the P1,500 to P8,200 suggested retail price set in DOH Department Circular No. 2021-0291.
“We are in an emergency situation and the Delta variant is on us. This is no time to milk dry people who are infected with the virus. Your provincial government is intervening by regulating the prices and penalizing violators,” the governor said.
The National Bureau of Investigation and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group are monitoring the sales of Remdisivir and other essential medicines in the market.
The agencies have not received complaints of fake Remdisivir so far.
At the request of Pineda and Vice Governor Lilia Pineda, Board Member Jun Canlas pushed for the full activation of the LPCC because the body, chaired by the governor, has the mandate to set price ceilings and file criminal charges against violators of Republic Act 7581 or The Price Act of 1992.