Mar believes in the value of people. That is why he fights for the right of every Filipino to enjoy cheaper medicines.
But the collusion between the government and drug companies has made this right a difficult one to assert. Even as drugs are sold cheaply in other countries, a P6 peso anti- hypertension tablet in India will still cost P46 here in the Philippines.
For Mar this is the height of injustice.
Even when he was DTI Secretary, Mar had already taken on the crusade of cheap, quality medicines for all. He initiated the “Presyong Tama, Gamot Pampamilya” program that allowed for the importation of cheaper medicines from India and Pakistan. For this, he earned the ire of the giant pharmaceutical companies. But Mar has never once backed down.
Finally, after a difficult ten years his efforts bore fruit through the Universally Accessible, Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act (Republic Act No. 9502) which he authored. Even with this, Mar’s work has yet to end for the government has been lukewarm in its implementation, particularly in setting a Maximum Retail Price for the most needed medicines. Mar, thus, continues to be aggressive and vigilant.
Because for Mar, the health of every Filipino is worth fighting for.