MEDS FOR INDIGENTS. Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Social Services Minister Raissa Jajurie (2nd left) and Mercury Drug Cotabato branch manager Daniel Ulep (2nd right) hold a check replica of PHP21 million representing the funds intended for the medicines of indigent patients. The handover on Thursday (Jan. 26, 2023) in Cotabato City aims to accelerate the delivery of health services to BARMM residents. (Photo courtesy of Bangsamoro Information Office-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Indigent patients in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) can now avail of free medical assistance from the Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) through Mercury Drug outlets, officials said Friday.

This came after lawyer Raissa Jajurie, MSSD minister, issued a check worth PHP21 million Thursday to Mercury Drug Cotabato branch manager Daniel Ulep to facilitate the provision of medicines for indigent patients.

Patients holding referrals from MSSD can withdraw medicine from Mercury Drug branches in the cities of Cotabato, Tacurong, Iligan and Zamboanga; and also the towns of Midsayap and Kabacan in North Cotabato.

Jajurie said the assistance aims to enhance the delivery of MSSD’s Bangsamoro Critical Assistance for Indigents in Response to Emergency Situations (B-CARES) program for indigent patients to immediately receive the medicines they need.
Patients or their authorized representatives will be interviewed and assessed by social workers to determine if they qualify as beneficiaries of the program.

"Once deemed qualified, a guaranty letter will be issued, and they can proceed to Mercury Drug to get the medicine," Jajurie said.
Patients seeking assistance may go to MSSD’s office and present the prescription of the medicines, which includes the date of issuance of the prescription, complete name, and the PRC license number and signature of the attending physician.
"Through this, the indigent patients or a representative will no longer go through a tedious process of seeking assistance from BARMM,” Jajurie said.

Ulep, meanwhile, vowed to Mercury Drug will provide "fast, right and adequate health services for the indigents. Hopefully, this program will continue to help make life easy for indigents, especially those in need of immediate medication." (PNA)