GenSan LGU teams up with NGO for cheaper, quality medicines for the poor

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 Aug) – The city government has linked up with a non-government organization for the provision of cheaper and quality medicines for poor patients of the city hospital.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said they signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Mahintana Foundation Inc. for the opening of a Health Plus Shop-in-a-Shop pharmacy within the city hospital complex.

He said the move will ensure the availability of ready and cheaper medicine packs for surgical and medical operations as well as other related needs of patients at the hospital.

Under the agreement, the mayor said Mahintana will mainly establish and operate a Health Plus pharmacy at the city hospital in coordination with the local government.

Mahintana, which is funded and operated by fruit giant Dole Philippines, will provide medicine packages and other hospital services to the hospital’s patients, especially the poor beneficiaries of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth.

The cost of the medicine packs would be charged directly by the hospital to PhilHealth and the patients would not be paying anything upon availing them.

“We will eventually open (Health Plus) pharmacies in all 26 barangays in the city,” Rivera said.

Mahintana is a provincial pharmaceutical franchisee of the Health Plus project, which was earlier implemented by the Department of Health to “promote wider access to quality, affordable and essential generic medicines and family planning commodities” in the country.

The group adopted the project to help address problems on the lack of medicines and basic medical supplies in various hospitals in the area.

Mahintana launched the program at the South Cotabato provincial hospital in Koronadal City two years ago and eventually expanded it to other municipal and district hospitals in the province and in Sarangani.

The scheme provides additional income to local hospital as Mahintana pays back 70 percent of its income from the Health Plus pharmacy’s operations.

Rivera said the opening of the Health Plus pharmacy at the city hospital will complement with the ongoing upgrading and improvement of the facility’s operations and services.

The city hospital underwent a series of repairs and rehabilitation since last year, mainly through a P67-million grant from the Department of Health.

The mayor said the city government has allocated P47 million this year for the procurement of drugs, medicines and other supplies for the hospital.

Rivera said he ordered the city hospital’s administrator, Dr. Benjamin Pagarigan, and his team to make proper inventories of the facility’s medicines and medical supplies as well as its future purchases.

He directed the team to “immediately release and dispense them with dispatch to where they are rightfully needed and where they should and properly belong.”