Pfizer tried to bribe govt with P100M, says Enrile
July 13, 2009 § 2 Comments
Do you know why medicines, especially hypertensive drugs are priced four times higher than those in India? Because pharma companies, says Senators Juan Ponce-Enrile and Mar Roxas, like Pfizer Philippines, Wyeth, Sanofi, Roche and even Zuellig Pharma are probably colluding with government not to implement the Cheaper Medicine bill? This is what transpired during the Senate probe chaired by no less than Senator Mar Roxas and Senate president Juan Ponce-Enrile today.
Pfizer and Roche Philippines also confirmed the meeting they had with Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Reiner Gloor, executive director of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines and chair of its ethics committee, confirmed that Pfizer thru its Country Manager/representative Alberto Mateo allegedly made the Offer to Department of Health secretary Francisco Duque. The offer was made before the publication of the list of the maximum retail price (MRP) for essential medicines last month. The offer, however, was supposedly rejected by Duque.
Gloor once headed Zuellig Pharma in the Philippines and now serve as vice chairman of the Zuellig Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit corporation. While Alberto Mateo serves as General Manager of the pharmaceutical division, a promotion after serving for some years as Finance and Business Development director. He’s also Pfizer Foundation chairman.
Enrile described the offer as tantamount to a “bribe”.
During the questioning, Gloor also confirmed that it was Pfizer Philippines which initiated the meeting with Mrs. Arroyo. Present during that closed door meeting were Duque, Trade secretary Peter Favila, representatives of Pfizer and Roche Philippines.
The meeting, which was held during the inauguration of the Dr. Eva Macaraeg Macapagal Geriatric Hospital last July 8, was requested by Pfizer. The President was accompanied by Secretary Duque, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Trade Assistant Secretary Ma. Lourdes Baua, Congressman Benny Abante, Congressman Junie Cua and DOH-National Drug Policy Program Manager Dr. Robert Louie So.
The multinational industry, on the other hand, was represented by top management namely Mr. Albert Mateo of Pfizer, Mr. Augusto Villanueva of Roche, Mr. Reiner Gloor of PHAP/Zuellig, Mr. Andrew Santos of Wyeth and Mr. Caloy Realuyo of Sanofi.
Arroyo reportedly remarked that she’ll sign the Cheap Medicines bill into a law if ” they (pharma companies) can’t come up with something commendable and good.” Gloor and Augusto Villanueva, Roche Philippines representative, however, did not say what Arroyo meant by “commendable and good.”
Gloor said that it was Mr. Albert Mateo of Pfizer who made the offer before Mrs. Arroyo.