Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pfizer's bribe offer and Mrs. Arroyo's culpable violation of the Constitution!

Today, Pfizer Philippines tried to wiggle itself out of the bribe mess when they denied that they offered government a P 100 million peso bribe.

For those who just read this, Senators yesterday accused Pfizer of an attempt to bribe Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo by offering her 5 million discount cards worth P 100 million in exchange for not signing an executive order (in fact, part of the implementing guidelines of the Cheaper Medicines Law). The order is supposed to release a list of medicines with maximum retail price ceilings, an important component of the law. The bribe offer reportedly happened last July 8, just before the DOH released the list of drugs affected by the price ceilings.

Pfizer denied that a bribe offer happened, yet it was Reiner Gloor, executive director of the pharmaceutical company representing 50 pharmas who confirmed it. The discount cards, says Gloor, are to be distributed to alleged "indigent patients" under a program called Sulit Patient Care card program which is already being implemented by Pfizer with an agreement with GSIS and PhilHealth.

The sulit card patient care program is the brain child of Mr. Albert G. Mateo Jr., Pfizer's country manager. Legislators, including Cong. Hontiveros-Baraquel condemned the program saying its discriminatory since it would only cover areas where Pfizer med reps go to. Pfizer med reps are the ones who distribute the cards.

Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile said the purpose of these discount cards is to impede or stop the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Law. That constitutes bribery. And Pfizer Philippines is the alleged mastermind behind the bribery attempt.

The question really is---why did Mrs. Arroyo stayed her hand on this? If I'm the president, all the more will I sign the E.O. and not give these pharma companies a day more to react. Why? Because Mrs. Arroyo pledged to uphold the interests of the entire Nation, not just the interests of these giant pharma companies.

What's more, Mrs. Arroyo could be charged with culpable violation of the Constitution by misfeasance. She's supposed to ministerially implement the Cheaper Medicines Law. Why the hell is she dangling the law like a carrot to these pharma companies? Is she waiting for a better offer from them?

And please, Trade Secretary Peter Favila---don't go around town impressing upon us that you're "angry" with these pharma companies. You're just faking it. You're part of this scheme to lure these pharma companies to a trap so that they give a better offer. Better for you, Mr. Favila, to just implement the law and start with Pfizer by cancelling their registration. Same with Wyeth Philippines, Roche, and Sanofi who were with Pfizer representatives when they met Mrs. Arroyo last July 8.

Mrs. Arroyo, this is the time for you to redeem yourself. Show your power by punishing Pfizer and the rest of its pharma cohorts by cancelling their registrations. If not, then, be prepared for a strong showing of anger by the People very, very, very soon.