MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Bong Go said the Senate is ready to investigate reports that some hospitals are overcharging patients in their medical bills.
Go, chairman of the Senate committee on health and demography and an advocate of universal health care access for all Filipinos, warned people against taking advantage of the situation instead of caring for and helping each other.
“For example, there were reports of overcharging of medicines in some hospitals which is then included in the total bill of patients. These patients have no choice but to pay in order to receive the medicine and be able to go home. This is upsetting because while we are supposed to help each other in this crisis, there are people who are taking advantage of the situation. We are ready to investigate the matter,” he said.
Go also said that he has been receiving reports on the scarcity of some medicines, apparently to jack up prices. He said he will not allow such practice.
“Right now, we must ensure that the government has the capacity to make medicines needed by the sick available, accessible and affordable. When the time comes for a COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine to be available, we must be ready to provide this to all Filipinos in need, rich or poor,” he noted.
“As I have said many times before, health care is a right, not a commodity. We must prioritize the general welfare of our people over the business profits of a few. Let us always prioritize the interests, welfare and life of the ordinary people,” Go said.
“I am urging DOH (Department of Health) and DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) to review the list of drugs included in Executive Order 104 which imposes Maximum Drug Retail Prices (MDRP) on certain drugs and medicines in accordance with the Cheaper Medicines Act. EO 104 was issued prior to the declaration of a public health emergency, hence, medicines relative to the treatment of COVID-19 and related conditions may not have been contemplated then, but should be considered now,” he added.
Go said by expanding the list included in the MDRP with the possible inclusion of other drugs and medicines, that may help in treating COVID-19 patients and other related or prevalent illnesses at this time.
“We can assure Filipinos that they will have access to available and affordable medicines and they will not be subjected to abusive business practices that take advantage of their vulnerabilities during this national health emergency,” he said.
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