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The Consumer

Bill to create a drug price regulatory board

/ 03:23 AM February 01, 2017

Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron, who happens to be a doctor of medicine, is seeking to amend Republic Act 9502, the Universal and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, to provide for the creation of a drug price regulatory board that will determine the maximum retail prices of drugs and medicines.

Under Biron’s House Bill 3252, the board, attached to the Department of Health, would be expected to monitor and review implementation of RA 9502 and push for the inclusion of more drugs and medicines for common ailments into the list of products whose prices should be regulated.

Biron, principal author of RA 9502, also wanted a “comprehensive review” of the implementation of the law that was meant to make medicines accessible to all. He noted that, after eight years, the law “has not yet fully attained its core objectives.”

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RA 9502 authorizes the President to regulate the prices of drugs and medicines on the recommendation of the health secretary. But Biron said the power seemed not to have been used.

Government-issued ID

Some senior citizens say certain offices and establishments do not consider their IDs as government-issued. In places where they have to leave IDs to enter a building or an office, receptionists, particularly security personnel, refuse the senior citizen card and ask for a “government-issued ID.”

Establishments and security agencies should tell their staff that a senior citizen card is as good as, if not better than, other government-issued IDs. It probably has more information than other identification documents.

Consumer organization

I’ve said before that it seemed we finally had a bona fide organization working for consumer protection and empowerment. Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (LKI), headed by former trade undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba, has taken several steps to promote consumer welfare.

In its first annual report, LKI said it was proposing amendments to the Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA No. 7394). This is long overdue as the law was signed in 1992. People’s shopping habits and practices have changed.

More and more consumers are buying online and many transactions are conducted in cyberspace. But many buyers and sellers know little about how to protect themselves from scams. We often hear of buyers who do not get what they pay for, or sellers who lose their products to online thieves.

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LKI is seeking to provide clear guidelines on online consumer rights, including buying tips/reminders on real estate properties, for instance, as well as alerts on food contamination/poisoning.

It has issued reminders on firecrackers and pyrotechnics regulations; text messages promotion without permits from the Department of Trade and Industry Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau, Department of Health, Food and Drug Administration or Civil Aeronautics Board; One Price for goods and services, whether paid through credit card or in cash; no expiration dates for gift checks, etc.

It has also reminded consumers of the No Return, No Exchange policy. As explained on the website of DTI Cebu, under the implementing rules of RA 7394, the words “No Return, No Exchange” shall not be written into the contract of sale, receipt or sales transaction in any document or anywhere in the store or business establishment.

Incidentally, Dimagiba says LKI welcomes new members.

Write to LKI at P.O. Box 1161, QCCPO, Philippines 1100; e-mail labankonysumer@gmail.com; follow Laban Konsyumer Inc. on Facebook or @labankonsyumer on Twitter. Visit abankonsyumer.com.

Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts., 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; e-mail lbolido@inquirer.com.ph

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TAGS: Consumer, doctor, Drugs, Lifestyle, Medicine, price regulatory board
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