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DOH Offers Free Stroke Meds in 26 Government Hospitals

MANILA, Philippines-The stroke medication alteplase will soon be offered to the public for free in 26 government hospitals all over the country, according to an announcement by the  Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday, August 16.

The life-saving medication also known as tissue plasminogen activator usually costs P80,000 per vial in pharmacies. According to Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, the DOH was able to purchase the medicine in bulk for only P30,000 per vial.


“Alteplase is truly a life saving drug, and every stroke patient eligible to receive it, should have access to it. It is not acceptable that a patient who cannot shelve out P80,000 will be deprived of this emergency medicine at a time when this is needed the most,” Ubial said in a statement.

Ideally administered in the first 3 hours upon onset of acute stroke, alteplase will be available in some government hospitals in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Ubial has instructed government hospitals to partner with their private counterparts in order to administer alteplase for free to poor patients confined in private hospitals. Under this arrangement, private hospitals will contact DOH hospitals for alteplase vials. Private hospitals need to guarantee that the stroke medicine will be given for free to patients in need.

In addition, the Health chief stressed that alteplase should only be administered to patients “with blocked blood vessels in the brain” or those who suffer from ischemic type of stroke since the medicine breaks down unwanted blood clots.

“It is very important that the attending doctor distinguish the type of stroke, whether ischemic or haemorrhagic, as alteplase will just worsen the stroke if given to those with the haemorrhagic type since this will just promote more bleeding in the brain,” Ubial said.

Click the link for complete list of government hospitals with the free stroke medicine.

What are the symptoms that you are having stroke?

Knowing the signs of stroke as well as the time the symptoms begin will help you determine the best treatment decisions.

Here are some symptoms of stroke, according to Mayo Clinic.

  1. Confusion
  2. Difficulty speaking and understanding speech
  3. Paralysis or numbness particularly of the face, leg or arm
  4. Blackened or double vision
  5. Severe headache or dizziness
  6. Loss of coordination or balance

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