DOH-NCR pushes for the establishment of more Botika ng Barangay outlets in Metro Manila

An October 11, 2012, press release from the Department of Health

Department of Health Center for Health Development–National Capital Region (DOH-NCR) Director Eduardo C. Janairo today encouraged the private sector to invest in the Botika ng Barangay program and join the growing number of operators in Metro Manila providing quality medicines at affordable cost.

“DOH-NCR has already established a total of 910 outlets all over Metro Manila as of October this year, and we are encouraging more applicants to enlist in the BnB program especially in priority areas identified by the National Household Targeting System (NHTS) for Poverty Reduction and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the government,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.

“Because of its significance, both in the provision of low priced quality medicines and its contribution to improvement in market contestability, we will advocate for its continued establishment by introducing a sufficient financial and management support system to make them sustainable,” Janairo said.

According to Janairo, the DOH-NCR will formulate a financial management system that will help sustain BnB operations through a joint initiative with the private sector. “It will be a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) that will include the creation of a revolving fund for BnBs including the sharing, storing/stocking and warehousing of supplies,” Janairo said.

The pooled BnB funds will be used for the training of operators, establishments of BnB outlets, and purchase of medicines. It will also be used as part of the Service Delivery Network to support the Family Planning policies including family health and maternal and child health care, thus helping in the attainment of the Medium Development Goal (MDG) on maternal and child health. The BnB is alsoa commitment of the government in improving the quality of life of its people by bringing the best value healthcare closer to the masses.

According to Secretary of Health Enrique T. Ona, the BnB program is an indication of the government’s pledge to bring affordable and quality drugs to all and facilitate an essential competition in the reduction of drug prices on the local market.

The Botika ng Barangay (BnB) refers to a drug outlet managed by a legitimate community organization (CO/non-government organization (NGO) and/or the Local Government Unit (LGU), with a trained operator and a supervising pharmacist specifically established in accordance with Administrative Order No. 144, s.2004.

The BnB outlet should be initially identified, evaluated and selected by the concerned Center for Health Development (CHD), approved by the National Drug Policy-Pharmaceutical Management Unit (NDP-PMU 50), and specifically licensed by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to sell, distribute, offer for sale and/or make available low-priced generic home remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and two selected, publicly-known prescription antibiotic drugs (i.e. Amoxicillin and Cotrimoxazole).

Other medicines that can be purchased from a BnB outlet are Paracetamol, Mefenamic Acid, Salbutamol, Multi-vitamins capsules and syrups, Oresol, Metoprolol, Ascorbic Acid, Metformin, Glibenclamide and Food and Drugs Authority (FDA)-approved herbal medicines like Lagundi and Sambong.

Prices of essential medicines that can be bought in a BnB outlet ranges from as low as P0.50 centavos (Paracetamol) to P2.50 (amoxicillin) compared to its counterpart in other drugstores which retails at P4.00 and P5.00, respectively.

Director Janairo assured metro residents that there is sufficient supply of essential medicines in all Botika ng Barangay (BnB) outlets in the region. “I call on all private entrepreneurs to apply and become a recognized BnB operator and support our government’s effort of bringing down the prices of medicines in the market,” Janairo said.