Health store, drug firm offer medicines at 80% less
Compliance Packs for people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterolBy Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A popular healthcare chain and the country’s leading drug manufacturer are offering quality generic medications for diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol at 80-percent less than the top brands. The Watsons Compliance Pack contains 30 tablets so that the patient could adhere to the daily regimen.
Simvastatin prevents cholesterol build-up. Metoprolol, Amlodipine, and Losartan relax blood vessels so the heart does not have to work as hard, thus preventing high blood pressure or hypertension and chest pains. For diabetics, Metformin helps control blood sugar levels.
These drugs follow the gold standard in efficacy. A month’s supply of 40 mg. Simvastatin tablets costs P425, while the leading brand fetches P1,185. Likewise, a pack of 500 mg Metformin tablet costs P67.50 while a top brand fetches P360. The packs are even cheaper if there’s a Philhealth or senior citizen’s card.
“When you’re told that you’ve got diabetes, it’s like hearing a death sentence,” says Lyle Morrell, Watsons health business unit director. “We have a program to enable patients to have a productive life. The compliance program is an initiative of Watsons and United Laboratories to provide commonly prescribed medicines at a price that is much less than the multinational brands.
“There should be no reason why Filipinos who suffer from these ailments should not be able to afford these primary medicines. They can have their whole month’s worth of medicine so that there is no interruption or disruption. That is critical to healing.”
According to statistics, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes are some of the main causes of hospitalization and deaths in the country.
“We believe this happens because of the price and lack of information. These diseases are chronic. They can only be controlled, and complications can be prevented. You should not stop taking medicines on your own unless advised by your doctor,” says Morrell.
The Compliance Pack includes materials on lifestyle modification. “The information leaflet explains in layman’s terms the disease, the possible complications if you stop the treatment, a practical diet plan the patient, caregiver or cook can be guided on for what to prepare for the day,” he adds.
These packs come with incentives. Watsons provides discounts on medical devices such as blood-pressure monitors and glucometers so that patients can monitor their condition.
There are markdowns on lifestyle modification tools such as 30-percent off the Slim Waist Belt and a free exercise CD. “We reward the patients as they change their lifestyle. There are free aerobics CDs so they can be fit even while at home. This program aims to help them manage their diseases.”
Victoria Encarnancion, Watsons marketing director, adds that Filipinos tend to buy in small amounts or tingi. “They could not complete the month-long medication because it’s too expensive. It’s our advocacy that more people will be able to afford these medicines.”
Dina Sarne, 47, a working mother, says the compliance pack has enabled her to adhere to the prescription. She never missed a day of taking her tablets.
Leonardo Garcia, 50, a diabetic patient, says the money he saved on the Metformin compliance pack was used to supplement the allowances of his nephews and nieces.
Events director Rodgil Flores, 44, has been able to monitor high cholesterol. He appreciates the literature that comes with the pack and the advice of Watsons’ pharmacists. “If I’m not involved with events, I go around the country judging beauty pageants so I should always bring my medicines. With this program of Watsons, it’s easier for me to stock up on my medications.”