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The Department of Health (DOH) freezed the prices of essential emergency medicines due to the 2019-novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Health event with a strict reminder that “it shall remain in effect for the duration of the situation” unless otherwise lifted by the President.
DOH Memorandum Order No. 2020-0058 dated Jan. 31 and signed by Health Sec. Francisco Duque III and forwarded to DTI-Palawan by DTI regional Office last Feb. 7, was addressed all undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, directors of bureaus and services and centers for health development, chiefs of hospitals of specialty/specialized/retained hospitals and sanitaria, heads of attached agencies and others concerned units for them to follow the order, with a note that it needs an “immediate compliance.”
“Essential medicines have been identified as a basic necessity especially in time of natural calamities and an-made disasters that put the health and lives of Filipino at risk because of unfavorable conditions that cause or aggravate disease which may lead to epidemics and massive death,” the memorandum reads.
Sec. Duque said that due to the said on-going global concerns, they are “mandated to monitor and regulate drug prices, as well as ensure that consumer are adequately protected against profiteering, hoarding, cartels and the like that compromise their access to essential pharmaceutical products.”
He said that it is the policy of the State to ensure the availability of basic necessities and prime commodities at all time as embodied in Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7581 or an “An Act Providing Protection to Consumers by Stabilizing the Prices of Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities and By Prescribing Measures Against Under Price Increase During Emergency Situations and Like Occasions.” The Administrative Order (AO) No. 2014-0001 has been provided also for their reference.
Annex 1 of the Memorandum Order lists down the emergency medicines and medical supplies, and the corresponding lowest price and highest price of the said essential emergency medicines.
For N95 mask, the lowest price is P45 while the highest is P105. For disposable mask, the lowest price is P1.10, the highest is P8 per piece.
For 60mL 70% solution Ethyl alcohol, the lowest price is P17.25, the highest is P25.50; the 250mL is P36.75 and P41.75 while the 500mL, the lowest price is P61 and the highest is P74.25
The lowest price for the Sterile gloves 50 pairs/box (size 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8) is P295 and the highest price should only P450 while when it is sold by pair (size 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8), the lowest price should P18 only and the highest is P21.
For Nebulizer, the DOH reminded everyone that the lowest price for this item is P1,495 while the highest should be P3,960. The Neb kit adult should be P87 and P120 accordingly; the Neb kit pedia should be P63 and P142.
Oxygen cannula adult, the lowest price is P24, the highest is P60; for Oxygen cannula pedia, the lowest price is P18.50, the highest is P53 while the Oxygen cannula neonatal, the lowest price is P24 and the highest is P50.
Meanwhile, during the last special session of the Provincial Board of the province of Palawan, Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Dr. Mary Ann Navarro relayed to the board members that they have already coordinated the Philippine National Police (PNP) in terms of supply of mask in the province.
She said that the authorities assured their full support and encouraged everyone to report any profiteering or hoarding event so that they could file appropriate charges against the involved store managements or individuals.