Cebu City EOC seeks DTI’s help to regulate prices of COVID-19 meds
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is urging the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) and the Department of Health (DOH) to control the prices of essential medicines being used for COVID-19 treatment.
The EOC is concerned that the prescription medicines including, 200 milligrams (mg) Favipiravir, 100mg Remdesivir, and 400mg Tocilizumab, have increased from 20 to more than a 100 percent in price.
Favipiravir used to be priced at P10,500 but now retails at P12,000, Remdesivir used to be priced at P4,000 but now retails at P6,000, while Tocilizumab’s price rose from an already expensive P75,000 to a whopping P130,000.
“It has come to our observation that the prices of COVID-19 medicines such as Favipiravir, Remdesivir, Tocolizumab have significantly increased.”
“With the number of cases that we have in the city, the demand for these medicines also increases. In addition, there is also an issue about hoarding, which aggravates the supply and distribution of these medicines. We see that is a need to regulate the sale and price of these medications so as to provide our COVID-19 patients a fighting chance for survival,” said Councilor Joel Garganera, the deputy chief implementor of the EOC.
Garganera said they are constrained to seek assistance from the Office of the Presidential Assistant, Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), DTI and DOH to help formulate the price and supply regulation of these medicines.
The EOC received a copy of the regular prices of the DTI and found out that said prices are far from their previous and current retail price.
The price of Favipiravir should have been P240 to P310, Remdesivir at P1,600 to P8,200, and Tocilizumab at P25,700 more or less.
This leads the EOC to believe the overpricing has been occurring in Cebu City most probably brought by hoarding.
Garganera hopes the DTI and DOH can help the city government regulate the prices of the medicines because if the overpricing continues, many people may not be able to afford the medicines.
The councilor said that medicines for COVID-19 should not be too expensive lest the inability to afford them may be the cause of the death of many. /rcg
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