Drug firm hit for ‘bribe’

Pfizer offer to Arroyo rejected.

MANILA, Philippines—Several lawmakers on Monday accused Pfizer Philippines, a multinational drug company, of attempting to “bribe” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through the Department of Health (DoH) with five million “sulit (discount) cards” to be distributed to indigent patients around the country.

At Monday’s hearing of the affordable medicines oversight committee, the lawmakers said the bribery attempt was apparently aimed at convincing Ms Arroyo not to sign an executive order, drafted last month by the DoH, that will cut drug prices in half.

“The fact is the [cheaper medicines] law was passed by Congress.For somebody to offer (the cards that) is already an indication that the purpose of the offer is to stop … impede the enforcement of the law. I will tell you as a lawyer … that is as an offer of bribe,” said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

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