PhilHealth, pharma firms sign MOA on Type Z discount

Posted at 09/18/2012 2:03 AM | Updated as of 09/18/2012 3:58 AM

Pharma companies to give as much as 80% discount for PhilHealth Package Type Z (catastrophic diseases)

MANILA - "Sapat na ang bayad ng PhilHealth."

This was the message of PhilHealth President Eduardo Banzon as the government health agency formally entered into an agreement with 11 leading pharmaceutical companies to greatly reduce the cost of drugs for catastrophic illnesses under the PhilHealth Z benefit package.

As much as 30-80% discount will be given by the pharmaceutical companies for medicine and drugs to treat what the PhilHealth has identified as catastrophic illnesses under Package Z.

Under the Z-benefit package, these illnesses are:

  • childhood Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia with a benefit cost of P210,000;
  • early stage Breast Cancer (stage 0 to III-A) at P100,000 for the entire cost of treatment;
  • prostate cancer (low- to intermediate-risk) requiring prostectomy for P100,000; and,
  • kidney transplant or end-stage kidney disease requiring kidney transplant for P600,000.

The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed by top pharmaceutical executives from Ambica International Trading, Astellas Pharma Phils. Inc, Dega International Pharma Corp., GlaxoSmithKline Phils Inc, Globo-Asiatico Ent. Inc, Novartis Healthcare Phils, Pascual Laboratories, Pfizer, PITC Pharma Inc., Roche Phils Inc., and Sanofi-Aventis Phils. Inc.

Among the many drugs that will be given a discounted price is docetaxel (generic name) used for chemotheraphy. The original price is P40,000 per vial but with an 83% discount by Sanofi, PhilHealth will get it at P7,000 per vial. A patient usually needs 4-6 vials for chemotherapy.

The huge discount packages given by the pharmaceutical companies will enable PhilHealth to take care of a patient's entire treatment unlike before when they only pay for partial treatment.

"Dun sa package rates, expect na kumpletong gamutan po yan, treatment, chemo, surgery. Kasya po lahat yan sa kalidad na serbisyo," said PhilHealth's Dr. Robert So.

PhilHealth has partnered with public hospitals nationwide.

This new benefit from PhilHealth addresses the needs of poor patients who want quality care and treatment but don't have the means to do so.

Eighty percent of PhilHealth's members come from the D and E bracket, like Erdie Retizo who was given a kidney transplant last January.

Unfortunately, 26-yr-old Erdie will not benefit from the new package Z from PhilHealth, which was launched only last July, and the MOA with the pharmaceutical companies was just signed on Monday.

So Erdie had to prepare P600,000 for his kidney transplant and treatment after suffering from end-stage renal failure.

Erdie's parents are vegetable vendors, and they had to sell 2 jeepneys to pay for his operation.

Erdie is the eldest of 10 siblings. "Yung mga kapatid ko, nag-aaral pa, paano na yung kinabukasan nila sa dami ng utang namin para lang mapagamot ako?" he asks.

PhilHealth hopes that with this new benefit, people like Erdie don't have to worry about where to get money to pay for their medical bills.