President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo signed last June 6, 2008 Republic Act No. 9502, an act providing for cheaper and quality medicines. It is known as the UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE CHEAPER AND QUALITY MEDICINES ACT OF 2008.
RA 9502 compliments the Generics Act of 1998, for it also requires and ensures the production of an adequate supply, distribution, use and acceptance of drugs and medicines identified by their generic name.
The new law has four objectives:
1. Strengthen competition by amending the intellectual property code to:
- Allow the parallel importation of patented medicines from other countries where these are more affordable
- Prohibit the grant of new patents based only on newly discovered uses of a known drug substance
- Allow local generics firms to test, produce and register their generic versions of patented drugs , and
- Allow the government use of patented drugs when the public interest is at stake.
3. Strengthen the Bureau of Food and Drug to ensure the safety of the medicines, by allowing it to retain its revenues to upgrade its facilities, equipment and human resources, and
4. Ensure the availability of affordable medicines by requiring drug outlets to carry a variety of brands for each drug including those sourced from parallel importation, to give consumers more choices.
The implementing rules and regulation are still being prepared and will be available only after 5 months.
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