DOH is giving away ₱30M worth of expensive stroke medication at select hospitals

The Department of Health (DOH) announced on Tuesday, August 16,  that it is giving away Alteplase, an expensive stroke medication, at select government hospitals. This is part of the agency's celebration of  Brain Attack Awareness Week.

DOH has allocated ₱30 million for the expensive stroke medication. Originally priced at ₱80,000 per vial, the agency got it for only ₱30,000 per vial. That represents a huge 62.5% discount.

(Image Credit: Department of Health)

At ₱30k per vial, some people might think it's still so pricey. Not so, when you learn more about how the medication works.

Alteplase is classified as a tissue plasminogen activator. As such, it helps greatly in breaking down unwanted blood clots.

According to Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, it is "ideally given in the first 3 hours upon onset of acute stroke."

This emergency, life-saving stroke medication, according to drugs.com, is used to "improve recovery and reduce disability in certain patients who have had a stroke".

Only patients with ischemic stroke or those with blocked blood vessels, will benefit from Alteplase, according to Dr. Eric Tayag, the spokesman and assistant secretary of DOH.

The DOH said that 2013 data show that about six out of 10,000 Filipinos die from stroke every year. Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the Philippines, after ischaemic heart attack.

About one-third (32%) of all stroke survivors also end up permanently disabled.

Stroke patients or their relatives can avail of the free Alteplase from the 26 government hospitals listed below:

East Avenue Medical Center
Philippine Heart Center
Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center
National Kidney and Transplant Institute
Quirino Memorial Medical Center
Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center
Philippine General Hospital
Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center
Mariano Marcos Memorial Medical Center
Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center
Cagayan Valley Medical Center
Southern Isabela General Hospital
Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital
Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center
Batangas Medical Center
Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital
Bicol Medical Center
Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital
Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital
Western Visayas Medical Center
Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center
Zamboanga City Medical Center
Cotabato Regional And Medical Center
Northern Mindanao Medical Center
Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Sr. Regional and Tech Hospital
Southern Philippines Medical Center

For stroke patients brought to private hospitals, they can also have the chance to avail of Altaplase for free. Private hospitals can write to DOH hospitals and request for the stroke medication. DOH will grant the request but the private hospitals have to assure DOH that the medications will be given for free to eligible patients.

For inquiries the DOH now has its own hotline: (02) 711-1001 to 02.

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