The prices of about 200 essential medicines will be frozen all over the country to ensure they are available to thousands of typhoon victims, Health Secretary Enrique Ona announced on Saturday.
“Securing the health and safety of the typhoon victims is an immediate priority of the DOH [Department of Health],” Ona said.
The price freeze should cover drugs for diseases and conditions that are likely to spread during typhoons such as physical and mental trauma and injury, diarrhea, pneumonia skin diseases and other infections like leptospirosis.
The Health department is watching out for potential outbreaks of communicable diseases because of the breakdown in water and sanitation facilities and the severe state of primary health facilities which were badly hit by the typhoon.
Other essential drugs covered by the price freeze include those that address common chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma likely to be aggravated by anxiety and stress.
The Price Act (Republic Act 7581) mandates the DOH to automatically freeze the prices of essential drugs classified as basic commodities or impose maximum price ceilings particularly in times of calamities to protect consumers from profiteering, hoarding, cartels and other such violations by traders who may take advantage of the calamity situation.
The price freeze will be effective immediately in all public and private drug retail outlets nationwide including hospital pharmacies.