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APRIL 24, 2014

NR # 3446B

Use a portion of local government IRA to buy medicines for indigent patients
Mindanao lawmakers insist that local government units should set aside a portion of their internal revenue allotments (IRA) for free medicines to indigent patients in their areas. Medical attention without the concomitant medicines being administered to the patients is meaningless, !aga"an de #ro !it" Rep. Rufus Rodrigue$ and Abante Mindanao %art"&list Rep. Ma'imo Rodrigue$, (r. stressed. )he Rodrigue$ brothers are authors of *+ ,,-- which mandates local government units to allocate a part of their IRAs for free medicines to make meaningful and complete the free medical care program for the poor. )he most appropriate and .uick source of funding for free medicines to indigent patients is the IRA of /01s, the authors pointed out. It is a sorr" state that man" of our sick but indigent countr"men who are medicall" attended to in public hospitals and diagnosed as suffering from certain ailments and prescribed the needed medicines, are nonetheless helpless in having their illness cured because of lack of means to bu" medicines as prescribed, the" added. Again, povert" is depriving man" indigent patients of the rare opportunit" of medical advancement and recent discoveries on cure of diseases because the medicines are hardl" affordable and far from the indigent patients2 reach, the lawmakers lamented. 3ection 4 of *+ ,,-- clearl" states5 It shall be the obligation of all local governments to set aside and earmark a portion of their Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA) for appropriation for free medicines to be distributed to the public hospitals, clinics, dispensaries or other outlets to indigent patients for free in their localities. )he proposed law also provides that all pharmacies or outlets distributing or dispensing free medicines shall render periodic accounting of such disbursement dul" posted in at least three (,) public boards specif"ing the patients2 name, address, doctor prescribing the medicine and the amount or cost of the medicines. /ikewise, in addition to the criminal liabilit" incurred b" persons for violating pertinent provisions of the Revised %enal !ode or other special laws, the following acts shall constitute a crime under the proposed law5 a) %reparing a list or certification that a patient is indigent when he is not6

b) 3ubmitting, preparing or altering an" document to make it appear that an" legitimate ac.uisition, purchase, disbursement or distribution had been made for free medicines when in fact there is none6 c) 7iverting, concealing or using for other use or purpose, the funds for free medicines6 d) 7ispensing or distributing the free medicines under this Act other than to indigent patients6 e) 3elling or disposing of the free medicines6 f) Marking up or padding the purchase cost of medicines ac.uired under this Act6 and g) 8nowingl" purchase e'pired medicines or those e'piring within one (4) "ear from date of purchase. )hose found guilt" of committing an" of the acts cited in the preceding paragraphs shall be sentenced to an imprisonment of not less than two (9) "ears but not more than seven (:) "ears. 3ection 9 of *+ ,,-- clearl" provides5 ; < Indigent patients are those who have no visible means of income or whose income is insufficient for the subsistence of his or her famil" as identified b" the local 73=7 office6 %rovided, *owever, that the local government shall maintain a list confirmed b" the baranga" officials concerned where the indigent patient resides and to issue an identif"ing document to insure that the free medicines are properl" dispensed to deserving recipients6 %rovided, further, that said hospitals, clinics or dispensaries shall, as far as practicable, establish their own pharmac" or outlets within their premises and maintain sufficient stock or .uantit" of the most commonl" prescribed medicines in order to immediatel" provide the free medicines to the indigent patients. )he measure is under consideration b" the *ouse !ommittee on /ocal governments chaired b" Rep. %edro Acharon, (r. (,-) dpt