Wednesday, April 30, 2008

MAR: Government Will Compete With Drug Industry!

In case you haven't been paying attention to what the so-called Cheaper Medicines Bill is really all about, just read the Press Release from Senator Mar Roxas (allegedly "Mr. Palengke==Mr. Market):
Roxas, principal author of the Affordable Medicines Act and co-chair of the bicameral conference committee, thanked the members of the bicameral conference committee, led by bicameral committee co-chair, Rep. Antonio Alvarez, for signing the report. Both houses will now ratify the bicam-approved bill and officially transmit to the Office of the President for signing.

"We may have had our differences but it was all worth it because the final version of this vital health measure is really a product of vigorous debate and comprehensive study," the long-time advocate of affordable medicines said.

The former trade secretary recalled that he was sued by a major pharmaceutical company when he was at DTI for bringing in affordable medicines from abroad.

"Even then, there was a great deal of pressure for the government not to compete with these drug companies. Now that the law is passed, not just the government but even the private sector can import drugs or medicines from another country as long as they comply with the guidelines to be set by the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health," Roxas said.
SOCIALISM here we come. Well we shall see whether all that "vigorous debate and comprehensive study" can turn this government into a worthy competitor against all those evil imperialist drug companies and their accursed Intellectual Property Rights ideas. Never mind of course that even the World Health Organization points out that only ONE PERCENT of the Essential Medicines on its list is still under patent protection. We shall see if the Office of the President and the Dept. of Health can start a competitive generics drug industry based on "parallel importation", price controls and what his side kick Pia Cayetano has suggested will be taxes to support the scheme using "5% of the GDP".

Of course, we will never see the dead and dying from all this big government socialistic phantasmogria. Whatever they're smokin' -- give me some of that psychedelic stuff already!


Gabby said...

What is this 5%? can you provide a link for that? thanks!

DJB Rizalist said...

It's a statement she made, quoted on Pia Hontiveros' show last Monday evening stating a goal of hers to devote 5% of GDP to "government run health care" programs as a condition for putting in a "generics only" provision in the law. It's a ten point manifesto on her vision of health care in the Philippines that should be made pubic soon. The NGO rep who quoted it claims to have a copy. Been looking for it myself, but I have no reason to doubt the citation. Let me know if you see it.

Jego said...

Ive been thinking... maybe the Philippines really should go through a socialist phase. And once we see that bigger government makes things worse, we'll have a more solid reason to reject it and clamor for more self-government.

DJB Rizalist said...

I am well aware of the fact that multinational drug companies rule the roost in the Philippines. but it was during the marcos regime that their hold solidified. in other words, govt is at least partly to blame. I don't think the right way to go is by the govt competing with the drug industry. There are many drug companies in the world. We could make them compete with each other. We can lower taxes and duties and foster healthy private competition.

This way leads to something worse. Watch Pia Cayetano and Mar Roxas. They are dangerous demagogues who will make things worse, especially for the poor, while the rich, well they can afford the price elasticity of drugs.

Jaywalker said...

Based on the praise errr press release of Mr. Palengkero it appears that the government will have too much control of the pharmaceutical industry..... very bad.

Local generic pharmaceutical companies will be allowed to do their test, hmmmmmn interesting, happy days are here again for the corrupt bureaucrats. On what standards the test will be conducted remains to be seen. We probably should not be alarmed by these but knowing how corrupt our government agencies are, what are the chances that these tests are conducted according to FDA standards or if these tests will even be conducted at all since they can always bribe their way to rpofit.

Palengke says they will see to it that the intent of the law is not perverted but if they themselves cannot be trusted such as their unwillingness to be transparent and account on their oink oink pork barrel can we really expect an honest to goodness implementation.....

MBW said...

Govt to compete with industry? How? By forming a medical pagcor industry to play or gamble with the nation's health? (OK, forget the 'nation's health' bit -- the nation's long been a hopeless ICU case!)

Jego said...

Youre right of course, djb. But such is the reality here in our country that people see the government as some entity that would take care of them, cradle to grave; look out for their interests, even though experience and evidence shows that it isnt capable of doing that.

And yes, this isnt the right way to go. I was thinking out loud that maybe we should go through a socialist phase to see the folly of it all, but then again, if the socialist government fails, and in the mindset of the Filipinos -- they want to be governed -- it will just as likely result in a clamor for MORE government instead of less.

DJB Rizalist said...

the worst thing of all is that people in govt itself do not see this it seems and are willing to engage in the kind demagoguery that makes people feel good but only succeeds in getting the socialist-thinkers elected.

Mar Roxas and Pia Cayetano are a taking a page out of Erap's book without the naive sincerity that at least Erap had. Theirs is not naivete but cynicism.

They will do what it takes to the CPP NPA and the Left-wing idealists to help them, because they are indeed the read socialists. If they can get their precious ideology in at the point of a gun, they will settle for people like Mar and Pia to do it for them through insane populism.

To the extent that at its core the Cheaper Medicines Bill is really about imperialism and colonial domination, they approve of and abet it.

Major Tom said...

Anything that could allow our populace access to low-priced madeicines is for certainly a good thing, a very good idea in fact.

Let us just hope that this new law would work out quite well and not be hinged like the previous once had become.

DJB Rizalist said...

Major Tom,
yes! what really matters is what really works. However, the recommendations of WHO are not part of the package of features in the current bill, which makes me pessimistic about the ability "to make it work."

Equalizer said...

Should Senators like Mar Roxas appear as TV Endorsers for Consumer Products?

DJB Rizalist said...

why not?

Equalizer said...

Senator Mar Roxas appeared recently in a TV commercial for TIDE detergent.

Tide is a major brand of Procter & Gamble.

P&G is well known as global marketer of high-quality personal and household products.

But P&G is also in the pharmaceutical business.

manuelbuencamino said...

free market system is just an ideology. As such it has to give way to reality.

Furthermore, there is no country in this planet where a real free market exists. So let's make sure the playing field is even, evenly tilted in our favor.

DJB Rizalist said...

So where would you stop? Maybe the government should get into all sorts of other industries to tilt the playing field in "our" favor. How about a Cheaper Oil Bill. A Cheaper rice bill. A cheaper Cellphones bill? Besides, when has it ever worked that the govt succeeded in repealing the laws of supply and demand?

Jego said...

So let's make sure the playing field is even, evenly tilted in our favor.

Ive read of something called 'libertarian paternalism' (which sounds like an oxymoron), where the role of government is to guide the citizens into making the right choices without limiting their freedom to make their own choices. I would also probably amend this to giving the government of countries like ours the power to give the citizens the ability to make their own choices, because in our country, most citizens are powerless, informationless and therefore choiceless.

Teresita said...

Jego: Ive been thinking... maybe the Philippines really should go through a socialist phase. And once we see that bigger government makes things worse, we'll have a more solid reason to reject it and clamor for more self-government.

Sure. Russia and China and Eastern Europe went through their socialist phase and now they all have rejected it and clamor for more self-government. This "cure" only cost about 100 million lives in the 20th Century.

Jego said...

Yes. Ignoring for the moment that I had already issued a 'retraction' of sorts in a subsequent comment, I dont think that would happen in the Philippines, teresita. You see aside from rejecting self-government for its people, the Soviets, China, and all their satellite states also rejected God, that is, the existence of a power higher than the State, and it is to the laws of this God that our people appeal to to address abuses of the State. This God is recognized in our constitution and our people recognize the moral laws of this God as a limit to the power of the State. Our own commies recognize this.