The Department of Health (DOH) today reaffirmed its commitment to transparency and people empowerment as it gathered patient groups and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR) for the 7th Policy Dialogue on Universal Healthcare (UHC) and Access to Medicines (ATM) in Manila.
Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III held a no-holds barred discussion with patients and CSO members to tackle medicine access issues and clarify their concerns related to access to health services and the Universal Health Care agenda under the Duterte administration.
“We would like to reiterate that it is the thrust of this current administration to introduce more reforms to reduce prices of medicines and out-of-pocket expenses of the general public while ensuring and maintaining quality and effective medicines and health services,” the health chief stated.
The said event is a follow-up on the series of policy dialogues that the DOH has been conducting in the country since 2013, with the aim of promoting patient involvement in crafting policy decisions and implementing programs related to their right to health.
It also serves as an opportunity for the patients to come face-to-face with DOH officials and other concerned agencies, where they can share their views and opinions on the current and future plans of the department, particularly on improving access to healthcare and essential medicines.
Moreover, this one-day event will highlight the DOH strategy of FOURmula One Plus, as well as update them on the latest directives and strategies on the UHC Bill, Fourmula 1+ Botika ng Bayan F1+ (F1+ BnB), 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 the Patient Forum, is organized by the DOH, through the collaborative efforts of the Pharmaceutical Division (PD) 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.