Policy Dialogue on Universal Healthcare and Access to Medicines

The Policy Dialogue on Universal Healthcare and Access to Medicines, otherwise known as the “Patient Forum,” is a one-day event among the civil society organizations, private associations, patient groups and  the DOH wherein the rational use, safety, quality, availability, and affordability of essential medicines as well as the processes of availing medical assistance from the DOH are discussed. Moreover, the patients are given the opportunity to have a dialogue with the Secretary of Health regarding their issues and concerns on medicines and health care. (- please include the role of MeTA phils in the establishment of the patient forum)

Frequently asked questions

The Pharmaceutical Division is the lead office that regularly conducts the Patient Forum in coordination with the Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) Philippines.

The highlight of the Patient Forum is the “Secretary’s Hour.” It is a segment wherein the patients can freely ask questions to the Secretary of Health regarding access to medicines, which will be answered by the Secretary.


The following are the DOH officials who have taken part in the Secretary’s Hour:

  • Former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial
  • OIC Assistant Secretary Enrique A. Tayag
  • Assistant Secretary Lyndon Lee Suy
  • Assistant Secretary Charade Mercado-Grande
  • Undersecretary Rolando  Enrique Domingo
  • Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire
  • Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

To date, 11 fora have already been held all over the country in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The last Patient Forum took place on September 30, 2020 via Webex virtual platform to prevent face-to-face interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Advocate for Dengvaxia Vaccine Welfare
  2. Ankylosing Spondylitis Association of the Philippines
  3. Bahaghari Advocacy Group
  4. Balikatang Thalassemia
  5. Calamba Association for Persons with Disabilities, Inc.
  6. Cancer Warriors Foundation, Inc.
  7. Center for Empowerment and Development of the Elderly and Seniors (CEDES)
  8. Cerebral Palsied Association of the Philippines (CPAP)
  9. Child Right Coalition
  10. Children International, Inc.
  11. Citizen Watch Philippines Convenor
  12. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Support Phils. (CAHSAPI)
  13. Dialysis PH Support Group
  14. Families of Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
  15. Federation of Senior Citizens Association of the Philippines
  16. Friends of the Sacred Heart
  17. Gabay ng Pulang Laso, Inc.
  18. Hemophilia Association of the Philippines for Love & Service (HAPLOS)
  19. HIV & AIDS Support House
  20. HIV and AIDS Support House
  21. Hope for the Youth Foundation
  22. ICANServe Foundation
  23. Kidney Transplant Association of the Philippines (KITAP)
  24. Kythe Foundation, Inc.
  25. MABINI (Maykapansanang Bayani Movement)/ Las Piñas Persons with Disability, Federation, Inc.
  26. Mental Health PH
  27. Myasthenia Gravis Support of the Phil. (MGSPI)
  28. Myelofibrosis Awareness & Support Group Philippines
  29. National Multiple Sclerosis Society of the Phil. (NMSSP)
  30. Neurofibromatosis Friends
  31. Office for the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA)
  32. Parents Alliance-SOCAD
  33. People Empowerment for Arthritis and Lupus
  34. Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO)
  35. Philippine Alliance of Persons with Chronic Illness (PAPCI)
  36. Philippine Patient Organization for Primary Immunodeficiencies (PHILPOPI)
  37. Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders (PSOD)
  38. Philippine Thyroid Cancer Survivors (PhiThyCas)
  39. Pinoy Plus Advocacy Pilipinas, Inc.
  40. PsorAsia Pacific
  41. Psoriasis Philippines
  42. Samahan ng Lusog Baga
  43. Scoliosis Philippines
  44. The Courage Pilipinas
  45. The Ruth Foundation for Palliative and Hospice Care
  46. Thyroid Support Group
  47. Touched by Max. Inc. Philippines
  48. United Parents Against Dengvaxia, Phils. (UPAD)
  49. Woman Health Philippines
  50. Yellow Warriors Society of the Philippines (YWSP)
  51. Youth for Mental Health Coalition

Throughout the years, access to medicines is a perennial issue that is always raised in the Patient Forum, especially those that require high cost in their complete treatment regimen, e.g., cancer medicines, treatment for hepatitis, mental health, psoriasis, etc. Moreover, patients always ask how they can be given assistance in acquiring hospital and other health services.

Previous topics included the Presidential directives in lowering the prices of medicines and increasing the availability of generics in the country, revival of the Botika ng Bayan, central purchasing of medicines, local production of medicines, Philhealth benefit packages, the Medicines Access Programs, existing platforms for the engagement of the civil societies and patient organizations, UHC, among others. Moreover, the Patient Forum serves as a venue for the DOH to solicit inputs from the patient support groups on the draft policies pertaining to UHC and access to medicines.

Representatives from various agencies are being invited to serve as resource persons, i.e., those other offices/Bureaus of the Department of Health. Among these are the Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau (HPDPB) which helps the policymakers and program managers in the development and implementation of evidence-based policies and plans towards a productive, equitable, resilient, people-centered health systems in achieving Universal Health Care; Bureau of Local Health Systems Development (BLHSD) that is the lead office in developing policies related to the local health systems development and involvement with the local government units; Malasakit Program (formerly known as Public Assistance Unit) which provides medical assistance to patients; the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau (DPCB) which houses the various programs of the DOH providing medicines and other health-related commodities and services (maintenance medicines, HIV/AIDS, cancer program, etc.), and other offices. Likewise, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is regularly invited to answer issues concerning the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines as well as other regulatory concerns. Officials from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) are also a regular attendee who provides information on reimbursements of the health services in public and private institutions. These are just a few of the invited speakers during the series of dialogues.

Related Issuances

Philippine Standard time

Contact Us:

Telephone Number: 02-8757734 Loc. 253

Address: 4th Floor, Philippine Blood Center, Lung Center Compound, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City

Email Address: dohncpam@gmail.com