Gov. Dennis Pineda with board member Anthony Torres at the SP meeting calling for price ceilings on medicines for Covid patients. Photo by Luisse Rutao/Pampanga PIO
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – “We are in an emergency situation and the Delta variant is on us. This is no time to milk dry people who are infected of the virus. Your provincial government is intervening by regulating the prices and penalizing violators.”
Thus, declared Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda before officials of government agencies and the sangguniang panlalawigan at the Capitol on Wednesday in activating the local price coordinating council (LPCC) to set price ceilings on medicines used in treating Covid-19 patients.
Pineda said he has been receiving complaints from patients and their families of being made to pay exorbitant prices for medicines in treating the virus.
Cited as an example is the drug Remdisivir which is usually pegged at P3,500 per 100 mg vial. But some private hospitals charge from between P8,000 to P22,000, a PhilHealth official reported, which a Department of Health executive confirmed. These exceed the P1,500 to P8,200 suggested retail price set in DOH Department Circular No. 2021-0291.
The National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group are monitoring the sales of Remdisivir and other essential medicines in the market. The agencies have not received complaints of fake Remdisivir so far.
At the request of the governor and Vice Gov. Lilia “Nany” Pineda, board member Atty. Jun Canlas pushed for the full activation of the LPCC.
Canlas said the price council, chaired by the governor, has the mandate to set price ceilings and file criminal charges against violators of the The Price Act of 1992 or RA 7581.