Current – Unjust threat

by Alex Roldan

The threat of some hospitals to increase the fees for their services due to the implementation of the Cheaper Medicines Act is appalling and vicious.  This is a clear manipulation of the truth and a hideous attempt by hospital operators to stall the implementation of the law in collusion with pharmaceutical companies even if it means fleecing the public.
It is unjustifiable on the part of private hospital owners to blame their alleged reduced income on the cheaper cost cost of medicines that their pharmacies are selling. Tell it to the marines! It is unbelievable that hospitals would suffer losses from selling medicines when all they have to do is add their operational and desired necessary margins to the purchase prices of all the medicines that they sell! An elementary school student knows that it is impossible for the hospitals to lose. Unless, the hospital buy shiploads of medicines and it would years before their shelves are emptied of stocks bought from suppliers at higher prices. But that could not be possible.
The worst thing is that they keep the public hostage to their greed. On several occasions, they have threatened to declare hospital holidays. They should make good their threat. Let us see if they have the stomach to see patients die because of their greed! Clearly,  they prefer their conspiracy with the pharmaceutical companies, who keep them happy with their huge profits, than their respective institutions’ declared mission conspicuously displayed on their walls, which is to serve the public.
A few years ago, a representative of the Department of Health’s Center for Infectious  Diseases was assessing the TB campaign in our country. I realized that private hospitals were involved in the effort, in fact, helping the government in responding to public health issues, is one of the conditions stipulated in their permit to operate. However, after several years of the campaign, it was disappointing to learn the private hospitals had not done much to help.
I agree, that it is not the private hospital’s reason for being the taking care of people who cannot afford hospitalization. They exist purely for business – to make profits for their owners. It is the government’s responsibility to take care of those who have less in life.   
However, we are in a situation where more and more people die from curable illnesses. Many would rather choose to self-medicate or rely on herbolarios than go to hospitals. The government is obviously not doing enough to remedy the situation. And increasing hospital fees will certainly force more and more of our underprivileged to stay away from hospitals at the risk of their lives or those of their loved ones.
Private hospitals must make profit to sustain their operations and improve their services. They are not charitable institutions. But just like all citizens, they have their responsibility to our society and to the nation.
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