At least Arroyo is making some attempts to put a cap on drug costs. Some such as the U.S. just seem to let the companies charge whatever the market will bear. As as result, drugs often cost much more in the U.S. than other countries such as Canada. The U.S. public just seems to grin and bear it or some actually travel to Canada to buy drugs.
No doubt there is considerable pressure on Arroyo to make the legislation as weak as possible as this article shows. I noticed when I was in the Philippines that drugs were often more expensive than in Canada. Given the huge differences in income for the average person this would make many medications unaffordable to most Filipinos. The price cap legislation is a step in the right direction.
This is from industry.bnet.
"Bribe" or No, Pfizer May Get Its Way in Philippines
By Jim Edwards July 16th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines said she will consider the interests of foreign investors and other “satisfactory” proposals before signing a maximum retail price law that would impose price caps on drugs in the archipelago nation.
The news will cheer Pfizer, which attended a controversial meeting with the government there in which the company offered alternatives to price caps. Politicians in the Philippines allege that the offer — of discount cards and posters for the president — a “bribe.” Pfizer denies the offer was a bribe. The Inquirer reported:
Malacañang on Wednesday said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would first take into account keeping foreign investors and ensuring public access to cheaper drugs before ordering a price ceiling for essential medicines.
The Palace was apparently backtracking on its tough position on Tuesday that Ms Arroyo was set to sign the executive order imposing maximum retail prices (MRP) by next week.
There is a July 18 deadline for Arroyo to complete the list of drugs facing price caps and sign the law.