St. Luke’s creates pharmacy for poorBy Theresa S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A lot of people’s lives would have been saved, if not for the steep cost of hospitalizaton.
There are, perhaps, a million tragic stories that can prove how those who have been afflicted with ailments and diseases have succumbed to death all because they could not afford to buy the medicines prescribed to them.
Admittedly, the skyrocketing cost of medicines in the country, reportedly one of the highest in the world to date, remains to be the biggest hindrance for most individuals to completely benefit from the life-saving effects of a particular drug.
In the Philippines alone, quality medicines remain beyond the reach of many suffering patients, despite the numerous efforts of the government to improve Filipinos’ access to quality healthcare.
Previous studies have shown that it would take a full six days’ worth of wages for an average worker in the Philippines to purchase even just the basic medicines.
Aware of such a dilemma, premier hospital St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City recently opened its “Outpatient Pharmacy,” which will be selling medicines at prices comparable, if not lower than those offered by popular drugstores.
Located at the Main Entrance of the Medical Arts Building, the Outpatient Pharmacy is part of St. Luke’s Medical Center’s initiative to allow its patients and the general public alike to have better access to competitively priced and affordable medications.
“St. Luke’s is moving towards price rationalization so that our outpatients can benefit from the lower priced medicines,” explains St. Luke’s president and CEO Dr. Edgardo R. Cortez.
Cortez explains that with the opening of the Outpatient Pharmacy, St. Luke’s Medical Center is hoping to be able to address the clamor of many Filipinos for reasonably-priced over the counter drugs, maintenance medicines, prescription drugs, and other medical supplies and needs.
And as proof of its commitment to truly provide the public better access to affordable and quality medicines, St. Luke’s Medical Center is taking on big challenge: it will be giving clients the opportunity to refund their purchases from the Outpatient Pharmacy, if and when they find cheaper-priced drugs from other pharmacies and drugstores.
“We will also continue to sell Maximum Drug Retail Price (MDRP) drugs at government-mandated prices,” adds Ricardo Joaquin V. Sison, vice president for supply chain division of St. Luke’s.
Meanwhile, the Outpatient Pharmacy will also be extending to clients additional services and fresh concepts that are not considered common in traditional and long-existing pharmacies.
“Value added services will be extended to clients by our Outpatient Pharmacy such as patient counselling and medication reconciliation, after sales service support, monitoring of compliance to prescriptions, medication delivery, and additional discount programs,” Sison explains.
According to Sison, clients of St. Luke’s Outpatient Pharmacy are always assured not only of having access to affordable drugs, but also of their safety as well since pharmacists will also be on hand, to ensure patients’ protection from adverse drug interaction through its medication reconciliation service.
“Sometimes, different doctors prescribe numerous medicines to patients. Our pharmacists will be there to reconcile all prescriptions to ensure patients will be protected from any adverse drug interactions,” Sison notes.
Customer care services representatives will likewise be available to remind clients whenever they already need to replenish their stock of regular medications. Regular clients may also inquire about free delivery services.
St. Luke’s Medical Center is the first hospital in the country to be accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). Its superior brand of healthcare service which is anchored on five pillars of expertise—expert doctors, state-of-the-art technology, guaranteed patient safety, excellent success rate and passionate customer service—is what made it a truly world class hospital.