Updated: Oct 13, 2018
A huge goal I am striving to accomplish while I am here in the Philippines is to understand what all we can purchase here in the Philippines vs what we need to purchase from the US and either ship or pack in our luggage.
We are limited to 2 piece of checked luggage per person that joins our team. So the amount we can transport for free is limited by that factor. Then we have to resort to 100$+ per box to ship to the Philippines, without the 100% guarantee that it would arrive in time or at all. Thus it would be greatly beneficial to purchase as much here as possible when the pricing favors in that direction, but so far the price inflation is insane! Let see if Day 4 prices prove to be better...
Joy, Pam and I set out to conduct an experiment of our own to see how much price inflation occurs when I ask for prices VS when they (as people who can speak the dialect) asks. Here are the results:
Myth busted (in this instance)! I wonder if it was that I had mentioned before asking that it was for a medical mission and they even said they would add a 10% discount on top of it!
But as you can see, even thought I was able to get fair pricing for their medications, the pricing that I can get for being a 501c3 nonprofit in the US is at least half the cost (if not way more reduced) than what is available in the Philippines.
Even if I were to factor in the cost of shipping, which is typically 100-200$ per 50 lbs, I still think it’d be more affordable to purchase in the US.
Since these ladies were incredibly nice, welcoming, and weren’t being inundated with customers at the time, I proceeded to obtain the pricing of the specific medications that the DOH had requested for our medication formulary:
Now that we have a concept of pricing here in the Philippines, let’s take a look at what a typical daily regimen looks like for one of my family members here who has to take diabetes and hypertension medications. (And this is just a small snapshot of all the medications they could be taking.)
It literally costs over 4 TIME the cost to purchase medications in the Philippines than what I can purchase in the US through being a 501c3 nonprofit.
According to the National Wages and Productivity Commission for our region (Region 3), the 2018 minimum wage is as low as 264 P ($4.64) per day. According to the Philippines Department of Health, 43.5 million Filipinos make less than this amount per month.
That means a patient with the medication regimen above would spend almost a quarter of their daily earnings on medications alone.
So hopefully you can begin to realize the power our volunteers have by joining our team. The cost of the medications is built in to the Trip Fee each volunteer pays to serve on our team. The more team member to join us, the more spread out the cost of the medicines will be. That money allows us to purchase these medications that are then given free of cost to our patients seen on the medical mission.
Thank you for helping us to help our patients!