Pfizer Will Fall Under Philippines Price Control; Company Ads Deny "Bribe" Attempt

Last Updated Jul 18, 2009 6:30 PM EDT

The Philippines Department of Health said that Pfizer's offer to distribute discount "Sulit" cards to Filipinos prior to a maximum retail price law coming into effect in the archipelago nation was not bribery, according GMA News.

In fact, the Pfizer card may not be used in lieu of a discount, the DOH said. Under a list of drug prices published in GMA, Pfizer's Norvasc, currently selling at P70 per 10 mg, will fall to P9.60 - 38.50

The bribe allegation -- made by Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile -- also spurred Pfizer to take out full-page ads in Philippines newspapers decrying the claim:

In its "open letter to the Filipino people," Pfizer said it was "deeply concerned" over the accusations of bribery in recent news reports.

"We categorically deny this allegation and consider this a grave affront to our reputation ... We have always sought to provide wider access to our high quality medicines," it said.

GMA also reported that Pfizer will extend to all government employees the benefit of its discount program.