Press Release/8 May 2019

In light of the passing of the Universal Health Care Law, the Department of Health (DOH) once again convened the patient groups and civil society organizations (CSOs) to continue its commitment to uphold transparency and people empowerment. This year, the 8th Policy Dialogue on Universal Healthcare (UHC) and Access to Medicines (ATM) targets to increase health literacy among our partners who are based in Southern Luzon and National Capital Region.

“We want to tackle issues with patients and CSOs that are related to pharmaceuticals and access to health services,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III declared, adding that the engagement of DOH and patients will strengthen the creation and implementation of better policies in order to achieve the Universal Healthcare agenda under the Duterte administration.

The said activity is a continuation of the series of policy dialogues being conducted by the DOH since 2013 across the country to actively engage the patients and establish partnership in crafting and implementing policy decisions and programs relating to their right to health.

This also serves as an opportunity for the patients to come face-to-face with DOH officials and other concerned agencies to share their views and opinions on the existing programs as well as the future plans of the Department, particularly on improving access to healthcare and essential medicines.

Moreover, this one-day event serves as an avenue for the DOH to discuss its current flagship program, i.e., FOURmula One Plus for Health, as well as to update the patients on its current directives and strategies, including the UHC Law, FOURmula 1+ Botika ng Bayan (F1+ BnB), Maximum Drug Retail Price, Philippine National Formulary System, Integrated Cancer Control Act, Mental Health Act, Rare Disease Act and drug pricing and access issues, rational use of medicines, and existing DOH platforms for patient engagement. 

The Policy Dialogue on UHC and ATM, otherwise known as Patient Forum, is being held by the DOH, through the collaborative efforts of the Pharmaceutical Division and the Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) Philippines, in recognition of the valuable contributions of the patients as partners of the government in achieving its goals towards Universal Healthcare.

“This engagement with the patients is one way of ensuring that no one is left behind in our desire to see better health outcomes among our people, and that all Filipinos have access to curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care, making our vision of Filipinos being among the healthiest people in Southeast Asia by 2040 a reality,” Secretary Duque concluded.