Good news to the less fortunate Filipinos as they can now avail free medicines from the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
In January 3, 2017, the DSWD made an announcement that the government will offer medical assistance to Filipinos or the “masa” who can’t afford to buy prescription drugs. The department had created a program called Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations in which the fund is generated from the Office of the President.
The costs of medicines are quite high and millions of poverty-stricken patients can’t afford to purchase them. This is the reason why P1 billion is allocated to help indigent patients easy access to prescription drugs.
The DSWD through Secretary Judy Taguiwalo released the Memorandum Circular No. 16. The AICS program supports the current Medical Assistance Program of the Department of Health that aims to provide free medicines for indigents.
Who are qualified to avail the program?
Patients who will avail the program should not expect for cash, instead the DSWD will give a referral letter that they will bring to the partner drugstores of the DSWD and hospital pharmacies as well.
Likewise, the DSWD identified other beneficiary of the program including the following:
- contract of services workers
- government employees
- those who are experiencing crisis situations
- relatives of policemen and soldiers who are injured or died while rendering their duty
What are the requirements?
To enroll in the AICS program, the beneficiary must submit the required documents to the nearest Crisis Intervention Unit of the DSWD, satellite provinces in every province and field offices. The requirements include the following:
- medical certificate or clinical abstract affixing the full name, license number and signature of the attending physician.
- Latest doctor’s prescription with the name of the patient and date, signed by the physician and license number.
- Certificate of indigent issued by the barangay the patient is residing or Indigent Card from the hospital’s medical social service.
- Valid ID of the patient or of the representative along with the authorization letter with the signature of the patient affixed on the letter.
Areas the program are implemented
This program of DSWD has been implemented in areas where high poverty levels are recognized. They also set a Memoranda of Agreement to the following hospitals:
- University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital in Manila. NCR
- Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo, Region VI
- Jose B. Lingad General Hospital, San Fernando, Pampanga, Region III
- Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu City, Region VII
- Davao Regional Hospital, Tagum City, Region XI
- Southern Philippines Medical Center, Davao City, Region XI
How the program works?
There are several steps to avail the benefits of the program.
- All the required documents should be complete.
- The doctor’s prescription will be brought to the hospital pharmacy or affiliated drug store and a quotation will be issued.
- Once the quotation is on hand, the patient or any representative will proceed to the DSWD social worker to submit the quotation and other pertinent documents. If the patient is qualified for assistance, a Guarantee Letter will be given and present it to the drug store or pharmacy.
- Requisition of free medicine can be made after three months.