THE Department of Health (DoH) said it will issue its guidelines in 90 days to implement an executive order capping the prices of drugs to treat the most common diseases in the Philippines.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III made the announcement Tuesday, a day after President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 104. The order calls for a maximum retail price (MRP) and maximum wholesale price for the drugs on the list, which includes 133 formulations corresponding to 87 individual drugs.

He added that the full implementation of the EO will come in due course following the issuance of an Administrative Order (AO).

“’Yung talagang tumatalima ay ang pharmaceuticals, pharmacies, botika, hospitals, at lahat ng may kinalaman sa supply chain ay magbababa na sila ng presyo ng mga gamot (Those who will need to comply will be the pharmaceuticals companies, pharmacies, hospitals, and all those involved in the supply chain. They will all need to lower the prices of their medicines),” he said.

Mr. Duque said the mechanism for sanctioning those who do not comply will be modeled on penalties imposed by the Department of Trade and Industry) and the Food and Drug Administration. The exact schedule of fines will be specified in the AO.

The price-controlled drugs mainly address chronic illnesses like cardiovascular diseases and cancer, as well as pain medications.

The head of the DoH’s pharmaceutical division Anna Melissa S. Guerrero said in the same briefing that all pharmacies and other establishments that sell medicine are required to have the “menu list” of the included medicines and their corresponding MRPs.

Ms. Guerrero added that in compliance with the EO, the DoH will review 35 medicines that were originally part of its proposed price-control list within 30 days. — Gillian M. Cortez