UST bestows honorary doctorate degree upon Mercury Drug founder

For being the pioneering spirit behind the pharmaceutical retail industry in the Philippines and in recognition of his deep involvement in philanthropy and advocacies, Mercury Drug founder Mr. Mariano Que will be conferred an honorary degree, Doctor of Humanities, by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) on September 9, 2015, at the UST Medicine Auditorium.

Mr. Que’s dedication to provide affordable and accessible health care to Filipinos began just after the war in 1945 — a time when a lot had no access to medicine.

With the little money he had, Mr. Que bought a bottle of the ‘wonder drug’ sulfathiazole and sold the tablets by piece through a pushcart. From this humble beginning, he founded the first Mercury Drug store in Bambang St. in Manila with a single-minded mission to make safe, quality, and affordable medicines readily accessible to the people.

For a period spanning 70 years, Mr. Que has steered Mercury Drug with a strong spirit of service and opened store after store in the country.

Under his wing, Mercury Drug introduced several firsts in healthcare service like a central computerized temperature-controlled warehouse to ensure round-the-clock delivery of fresh stocks, biological refrigerators in all stores to preserve life-saving medicines, motorized delivery service, 24-hour service in more than 100 of his over 1,000 stores to ensure that people have access to medicines at any time of the day, and drive-thru service, among others.

The concept of service Mr. Que offered has extended to social responsibility projects such as “Operation Bigay Lunas,” which provides free medical services and medicines to underserved communities; “Bantay Kalusugan,” which provides free medical clinics and free health screening for non-communicable diseases; “Operation Pa-Tubig,” which provides access to safe potable water to marginalized waterless communities.

A strong advocate of good education, Mr. Que also established the “Pharmacy Scholarship Program,” which grants full scholarships to deserving but financially challenged pharmacy students enrolled in Philippine Association of Colleges of Pharmacy member-schools; the “Gawad Talino” program, which recognizes public and private high school students excelling in Mathematics and Science; and the “Sagip Talento” program which supports the search for gifted Filipino youth and children to help build a new generation of future leaders.

Mr. Que also went beyond business enterprise and established the Philippine Business for Social Progress as founding member, pledging to set aside a percentage of Mercury Drug’s net income to pursue poverty reduction programs.

For his selfless work and contributions to the country, Mr. Que has been conferred many awards and recognitions: President’s Award: Plaque of Merit for being the Most Prestigious Drugs Manufacturer and Distinguished Civic Leader in 1973, Award of Distinction by the Philippine Chamber of Health and Pharmaceutical and Non-Pharmaceutical Industry in 1986, and Father of Philippine Health and Wellness Retailing by the Philippine Retailers Association in 2012, among others.