The Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the Medicines Transparency Alliance, continues to uphold its commitment to involve all patient groups in health policy and decision making processes through a Patient Forum.

This year, patient groups based in the Visayas will once again convene in the 9th Policy Dialogue on Universal Healthcare (UHC) and Access to Medicines. The dialogue aims to inform and educate patients on the newly signed Universal Healthcare Law (RA 11223), discuss issues to get input, feedback and invite patients’ perspective to help drive more sustainable policy outcomes.

It aims to establish and maintain partnership with patient organizations to support the existing DOH programs as well as the future plans of the Department, pertinent to improving access to healthcare and essential medicines.

Previous dialogues with the patients revealed that the DOH works with other relevant sectors in drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the UHC Act. The DOH also has an on-going Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) program to provide medical assistance for patients seeking consultation, rehabilitation, examination or confined in government hospitals.

This event serves as an avenue for the DOH to discuss its current flagship programs such as the FOURmula One Plus for Health, as well as to update the patients on its current directives and strategies, including the FOURmula 1+ Botika ng Bayan, Maximum Drug Retail Price, the Philippine National Formulary System (PNFS), the National Integrated Cancer Control Act, the Mental Health Act, Rare Disease Act and drug pricing and access issues, the rational use of medicines, and existing DOH platforms for patient engagement. 

Through the concerted efforts of different patient groups, the Government can produce more coherent and robust health policies and program without compromising the right of the public. In addition, patient organizations are being recognized for their valuable contributions as partners of the government in achieving its goals towards Universal Health Care.

“I would like to inform everyone that the DOH continues to explore ways on how the government will be able to serve its constituents through various health programs and services for patients,” Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique D. Domingo concluded.