The cost of a number of essential drugs will be slashed in the Philippines after the government said Tuesday it had imposed price ceilings on them.
President Gloria Arroyo signed an order setting a limit on five widely sold drugs while pharmaceutical companies agreed to cut prices on dozens of others, a copy of the order said.
The move will be good news for millions of Filipinos as many lifesaving medicines are considered too expensive for a country where more than 30 percent of the population live on less than 85 cents a day.
Arroyo said she imposed the controls after consultations with the pharmaceutical companies, including a number of major international makers.
She said the firms "voluntarily undertook" to reduce by at least 50 percent the prices of 16 widely used drugs and by 10 to 50 percent the cost of 22 others by August 15.
The five drugs the government imposed the ceiling on are Amlodipine, Atorvastatin, Azithromycin, Cytarbine and Doxorubicin, which are used for treating high blood pressure, cholesterol and cancer.
Government moves to put a limit a number of other treatments were thwarted by some leading companies who threatened to pull out of the country unless Manila agreed the voluntary reductions.