Dr. Edgardo Sandig, provincial health officer, said they have launched consultations with various sectors for the possibility of establishing a “Botika ng Probinsya” patterned after the government-initiated “Botika ng Bayan” at “Botika ng Barangay” system.
“Our goal is to provide quality and more affordable drugs and medicines to the rural health units and local government-managed hospitals in the province,” he said.
Sandig said they are planning to operate a Botika ng Probinsya at the provincial hospital and the three other district hospitals in the province.
He specifically cited the distribution arrangement between the Botika ng Bayan and Botika ng Barangay and the government-owned and controlled Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC), the lead implementer of the national government’s half-prized medicine program.
The PITC has been utilizing the “botika” systems as outlets for its half-prized medicines.
Through the help of the Department of Health and the Bureau of Food and Drugs, the PITC buys medicines and drugs through parallel importation and local sourcing.
Sandig said such kind of venture appears very viable based on the experience of Cavite province.
“Hopefully, we can also replicate it in our province. This proposal could be realized through political will,” he said.
There are currently 8,148 special botikas operating in the country, at least 1,155 of which are Botika ng Bayan and 6,998 are Botika ng Barangay.
In Region XII alone, there are 21 Botika ng Bayan and 116 Botika ng Barangay. South Cotabato has at least 44 of such botikas.
Meantime, Sandig said they would also study a proposal from the non-government group Mahintana Foundation to strengthen the direct contract arrangement between PITC and the botikas.
He said Mahintana Foundation’s proposal would make the operations of the botikas more efficient since they would be spared from the regular procurement system of local government units that usually takes some time to complete.