- Senator Estrada’s bill mandates LGUs to designate a part of their National Tax Allotment for free medicine distribution to impoverished individuals.
- The initiative addresses the issue of inaccessible medications due to high costs, with the NTA identified as a viable funding source.
- Provisions include establishing pharmacies in government facilities and maintaining a list of indigent patients to ensure proper dispensation of the medicines.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada is pushing for the passage of his bill mandating all local government units (LGUs) set aside a portion of their national tax allotment share for free medicines for indigent patients.
“Kadalasang libre ang konsultasyon at hospitalization sa mga pampublikong ospital, health care centers o clinics. Pero nawawalan naman ng saysay ang pagkunsulta nila sa mga doktor o pagpapagamot dahil sa kakapusan sa pambili ng mga inireseta sa kanila na mga gamot,” Estrada said in a news release.
In his Senate Bill No. 1029 filed in August 2022, Estrada proposed to require LGUs to earmark a portion of their National Tax Allotments (NTA) for appropriation for free medicines to be distributed to the public hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, or other outlets to indigent patients in their localities.
Under Section 284 of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code, local government units are entitled to a 40 percent share of the national revenue taxes, also known as the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), which is now referred to as NTA.
The NTA of local government units is the quick source of funding for free medicines for the benefit of indigent patients in their localities.
Studies showed that medicines in the country are five to 30 percent more expensive compared to other countries in Asia making it more difficult for indigent patients to access needed medicines.