Govt to provide free medicines for poor

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At least P1 billion worth of medicines will be made available to indigent patients, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Thursday.

DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said poor patients only need a doctor’s prescription to get free medicines.

“As long as they have the doctor’s updated prescription, we will validate it and give them guarantee letters that they will submit to pharmacies. The assistance won’t be in the form of money. They will present the guarantee letter and it is us who will pay for it,” Taguiwalo said in a Palace briefing.

The DSWD will seek to sign a memorandum of agreement with five hospitals across the country where indigent patients can claim their benefit. These hospitals are: Philippine General Hospital for National Capital Region, and a hospital each in Pampanga, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao.


Prescriptions amounting to P5,000 to P25,000 will be evaluated by social workers, while those amounting over P25,000 to P75,000 will have to be evaluated by the DSWD Field Office Director or DSWD Assistant Secretary.

“Next year, we expect this funding to be given to us. But if they are going to avail of it now, we will look for ways to fund it for indigent patients because as we very well know, the medicines can spell the difference between life and death,” Taguiwalo pointed out.

“Pending the release of the P1 billion, we will find ways to address the needs of the patients with our existing fund,” she added.

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