Monday, March 2, 2015

Senate seeks to replace 45-year old Pharmacy Law

MANILA-The Senate passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 2436 or the Philippine Pharmacy Act of 2014 which aims to regulate the practice of pharmacy, integrate the pharmacy profession, and enhance professional competence through mandatory continuing development and research.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, sponsor of the measure, said the proposed measure will replace the outdated Pharmacy Law (Republic Act No. 5921) to standardize pharmacy education, and regulate the registration and licensing of pharmacy graduates.

“Advances in science and technology, particularly changes in the health sector platform, coupled with the rapid expansion of the global economy, have made the 45-year old Pharmacy Law outdated, if not obsolete,” Trillanes said.

           “It is imperative that we update this law to keep the practice of the profession abreast with these developments and to make it relevant to how it is practiced in the country,” he added.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said that the measure was part of efforts to modernize and improve the capacities of different key industries such as the health service, business and agriculture sectors, in light of new challenges faced by the country such as the ASEAN integration slated to begin this year.  

         “We need to ensure that important sectors like the pharmaceutical industry, which directly affect the lives of our countrymen, are not being left behind by their regional and international counterparts in adopting the latest structural innovations and systems that will allow them to provide better services and products,” Drilon said.

Trillanes, chairman of the Committee on Civil Service and Government Reorganization, said that the bill was intended to equip the pharmacists with the “necessary tools to further improve and maintain our vibrant pharmaceutical industry and provide them with the necessary competitive edge to be able to compete in the international arena.”

Trillanes said the proposed legislation calls for the establishment of a Professional Regulatory Board of Pharmacy. Under the measure, he said, pharmacists in government service shall receive a starting salary equivalent to Salary Grade 15 under Republic Act No. 6758 or the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989. Those in the private sector, will receive an entry-level salary equivalent to at least 35 percent above the prevailing minimum wage in the National Capital Region.

The Philippine Pharmacy Act of 2014 also sought to integrate pharmacists under one nationally accredited professional organization, according to Trillanes.

He said one provision of the bill was to provide for a foreign reciprocity to allow a foreign-registered pharmacist to practice in the country, provided that his/her country of origin allows Filipino pharmacists to practice within its territorial limits.

           “The enactment of this measure is intended to complement the talent and competence of our professional pharmacists by providing them with an updated regulatory framework. This bill seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 5921 with a new law that is responsive to the current needs and practice of our professional pharmacists,” Trillanes said. (APPLE BUENAVENTURA, PRIB)


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