‘Allow small stores to sell medicines’
SEN. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao rejected proposals to ban small community stores from selling over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, saying that not everyone has access to the medicines they need.
The senator and presidential candidate dismissed the plan of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to regulate the sale of OTC medicines.
The DILG called on local government units to restrict sari-sari stores from selling OTC medicines without any permit.
But the Promdi standard-bearer said that this “is anti-poor and very impractical for rural folks.”
“This is also an added burden for small store owners who still have to pay to secure permits,” Pacquiao said on Sunday.
He stressed that sari-sari stores are the most accessible source of medicines needed for ordinary ailments like flu, influenza, diarrhea or stomach ache and body pains.
He said that OTC, which are also known as nonprescription medicines, are medicines that you can buy without a prescription. They are safe and effective for ordinary ailments.
“(We should) consider that not all live near a drug store,” Pacquiao said in a statement.
He pointed out that in some towns, drug stores are 10 to 20 kilometers away “and not all are 24 hours open.”
Pacquiao added that not all own a vehicle to travel to town at night to buy medicine. He also said that most people buy in small quantities.
He said that regulation and an effective crackdown on smuggling should solve concerns about the proliferation of fake medicines.
As a minimum requirement, Pacquiao said sari-sari stores can be required to submit a list of drugs they are selling to their barangay (village) to allow proper monitoring.
He said that the government should also crack down on the smuggling of counterfeit medicines and government officials who are protecting these smugglers must be immediately arrested.