Monday, April 28, 2008

Pass The Affordable Medicines Bill Now, Trade Group Urged Congress

Statement of TUCP Secretary-General and former Senator Ernesto Herreraon the Delay in the Passage of the Proposed Affordable Medicines Act.

We urge Congress to instantly pass the Affordable Medicines Bill to provide relief to the working class, many of who are already suffering from high oil and food prices. The right to affordable medicines is our constitutional right. We should not be deprived this right by those who have vested interests in seeing this bill derailed.

If this bill is deferred, then what more can we look forward to from our legislators on Labor Day?

• Regional wage boards are still deliberating petitions for a wage hike;
• Tax exemption for minimum wage earners has yet to pass the House of Representatives;
• A reduction in the EVAT for oil is not even in the horizon.

Meanwhile, millions of workers suffer from work-related ailments that require medicines and treatment. Sadly, these workers are now being forced to choose between food on the table and medicines for their health. This bill will give them a fighting chance for better health.

The proposed Affordable Medicines Act is already at the bicameral conference committee.

Insisting on the inclusion of a drug price regulatory board at this late stage of the legislative process brings forth the question of motives. Why hold the entire bill hostage to this obsession for a drug price board? This can be a potential source of red tape and corruption.

We absolutely favor the Senate version, which gives the Secretary of Health the authority to review drug prices and to recommend to the President as to which medicines should be price-regulated for public good.

We renew our call on the House of Representatives and Speaker Prospero Nograles: Pass the Affordable Medicines Bill NOW!

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