Senate candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista on Sunday called on the government to be lenient enough to allow small stores to sell vitamins and drugs without a prescription to ease the burden on small communities that don’t have easy access to pharmacies.
Bautista, a former mayor of Quezon City who has advocated for mobile clinics and pharmacies to help residents of remote communities access basic medicines, said the government should help facilitate public access to medicines on sale. .
“Let’s not make it harder for our people to buy the drugs that don’t need prescriptions,” Bautista said in a statement.
“Why do we have to complicate things? These sari-sari shops do not sell prescription drugs or HIV medications. They just sell medicine for headaches, fevers, coughs, colds which are available everywhere,” he pointed out.
“Why make it difficult for small entrepreneurs who do a great service to their communities?” he also pointed out.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has instructed sari-sari shops, or small neighborhood commodity vendors, to apply for drug sales permits from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a question that Bautista says could be difficult for those store owners.
“My first reaction to that is ‘what?
“Some neighborhoods are two jeepney rides from the nearest pharmacy or drugstore. Why push people to travel far to buy only paracetamol or common painkillers? he said.
“Also, why make it harder for our small store owners to do business? They should even be exempt from paying taxes because their income is too low to even make ends meet for their landlords,” he said.
Also, he said, medicines for headaches, body aches, colds, coughs or fever that are not controlled substances should be made available in ‘sari-sari’ stores. , because these are the points of sale that are generally accessible to many communities.
In many cases, Bautista noted, small “sari-sari” shops are the source of relief for poor communities because these shops allow purchases on credit.
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