Pia Cayetano on drugs bill: What’s taking Arroyo so long?

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Pia Cayetano called on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Thursday to immediately sign into law a measure that seeks to lower the cost of medicines in the Philippines.

Cayetano said she found it unusual that the Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008, certified as urgent by Arroyo, remains unsigned three weeks after Congress ratified it on April 29.

“I would like to think that the President will stand by her word that she is for this bill. It took Congress more than three years to have it passed. Now the fate of this landmark measure is in her hands,” said Cayetano, who chairs the Senate health committee.

She also belittled the pressure allegedly being exerted by US Lobby groups on the Philippine government to derail the bill’s enactment into law.

At the same time, she vowed to continue to work on several measures that will strengthen the bill, like boosting the capability of the Bureau of Food and Drugs to screen and monitor the quality of both branded and generic drugs in the market. Marilyn Baduria, contributor

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