PITC tapped to import low-cost drugs
A stalwart of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance has sought the passage of a measure that seeks to allow the Philippine International Trading Corporation to import low-priced medicines to provide the Filipino people a greater access to affordable medication.
Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, author of House Bill 6114 and vice chairperson of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, said people especially those in the rural areas could not afford medicines due to poverty.
“Patients die not because of absence of medicines but because they cannot afford to buy medicines sitting idly in the cabinets of drugstores,” Tambunting said.
The bill seeks to amend Executive Order 442 Designating Philippine International Trading Corporation as the lead agency to make quality medicines available, affordable and accessible to the greater masses of Filipinos.
In seeking the passage of his bill, Tambunting urged Congress to increase the annual budget of PITC so it can import low-priced medicines in huge volume.
Tambunting said the budget of the PITC to procure medicines is minuscule compared that of the multibillion pharmaceuticals in the Philippines, majority of which are controlled by multinational companies.
“There is a great need to strengthen the mandate of PITC as well as resuscitate its dwindling fund by infusing substantial amount from the national budget so that the PITC will be able to import cheap medicines that can be distributed to local destinations,” Tambunting said.
Tambunting said the bill allows the PITC to import low-priced medicines of the same quality or prescriptions from reputable and reliable suppliers and local sourcing of medicines using as basic component indigenous or endemic materials prevalent in the Philippines.