Insulin for the People
Mary Jane C. Gutierrez, MD
In 2009, the Department of Health (DOH) rolled out its Insulin Access Program for indigent patients with diabetes called Medicine Access Program (MAP) through the National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management (NCPAM) and pharmaceutical companies willing to provide affordable insulin through consignment system. To boost the existing program, Memorandum Circular No.16 through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) was put forth by our current administration. “Since our government is very much aware of the high costs of medicines and the numerous indigent patients who cannot afford prescription drugs, the President’s Social Fund allocated an additional 1 billion pesos to kickstart the program”, according to the former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo. Working hand-in-hand with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the circular mobilizes DSWD Field Offices III, VI, VII, XI, and the National Capitol Region (NCR) because they serve in areas with high poverty levels.
Patients may include indigents, government employees and contract of services workers, and those facing crisis situations “as determined by DSWD social workers “. They will not get cash to pay for medicines but referral letters from the DSWD which they will have to bring to DSWD partner-drugstores and hospital pharmacies.
Beneficiaries should first submit the following requirements to the nearest DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) located at the Central Office, field offices, and satellite offices in the provinces:
• Clinical abstract/medical certificate with full name, signature and license number of the attending physician (issued not later than 3 months)
• Doctor’s prescription with date and the name of the patient. The prescription should be signed by the attending physician with license number indicated.
• Barangay certificate of indigency or Indigent Card issued by the medical social service of the hospital
• Any valid ID of the client
Beneficiaries of prescription medicines P5, 000 or less only requires confirmation by the doctor or their duly certified representative to verify the prescription. However for medicine assistance worth more than P5,000, a social case study report prepared by the local government social worker or medical social worker may be required and can be availed only once within 3 months, according to Taguiwalo.
The following hospitals listed below are chosen by the DSWD:
• University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital in Manila, NCR
• Jose B. Lingad General Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga, Region III
• Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) in Iloilo, Region VI
• Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City, Region VII
• Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, Region XI
• Davao Regional Hospital (DRH) in Tagum City, Region XI.
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