The government has earmarked P2 billion in the proposed P5.768-trillion National Expenditure Program (NEP) for next year to purchase cancer drugs and subsidize assistance for cancer patients, the Department of Budget and Management said.

In a release, Budget chief Amenah Pangandaman said that P1.024 billion was set aside for the procurement of 61 different commodities such as Trastuzumab, Docetaxel, and Paclitaxel. This is seen to benefit 18,695 cancer patients.

The government also allocated P1 billion to the cancer assistance fund to support the continuous medical aid for 6,666 registered patients across 31 cancer access sites nationwide.

The CAF will partially cover both outpatient and inpatient cancer control services. This includes therapeutic procedures and other cancer medicines needed for the treatment and management of cancer.

The fund also aims to fill the financial gap in cancer diagnostics and laboratories, which are not covered by state insurer PhilHealth. On average, Filipino families spend around P150,000 per patient for such treatments.

The DBM added the remaining P682.7 million out of the P1.7 billion designated for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases initiative will support over 124,000 mental health patients.

The amount will fund mental health medications such as Sodium Valproate, Paliperidone Palmitate, and Haloperidol for patients across 362 mental health access sites nationwide.

The DBM released P500 million and P529.2 million for the cancer assistance fund in 2023 and 2022, respectively.

House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto earlier said that the Department of Health's budget for 2024 will suffer a P10-billion cut-to P199.1 billion from P209.1 billion in 2023.

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