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2:27 pm on 15 February 2022, Tuesday
By GDM Staff
President Rodrigo Duterte has prodded the Food and Drug Administration to intensify its campaign against counterfeit drugs and ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.
In his regular Talk to the People aired Monday night, Duterte asked the FDA legal team to partner up with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) to go after the people behind these knock-off drugs.
“Maski saan diyan sa dalawa okay ‘yan. Ang akin lang kasi there must be a follow-up sa prosecution para mahinto na ’to. Baka gawain lang ninyong pagkatapos hulihin, tapos wala lang, wala talagang mangyari dito sa mga batas na ‘to,” Duterte said.
The FDA should monitor these businesses, Duterte suggested, adding effective prosecution is necessary to discourage them from selling fake medicines that threaten the public welfare.
FDA OIC Deputy Director General Oscar Gutierrez reported that 78 out of 185 sari-sari stores were selling fake medicines in violation of the Pharmacy Law and FDA Act of 2009. Thirteen counterfeit drugs, mostly COVID-related medications, were confiscated from 13 stores.
Sari-sari stores, the FDA head stressed, are mere victims in the proliferation of counterfeit drugs.
“So actually po, ang sari-sari store mayroon po silang license to operate from the local government. So we would like sana to work with the LGU para po maybe they can pass an ordinance na ‘yung mga sari-sari store po do not buy or carry medicine.”
Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año vowed to assist the FDA by disseminating a memo circular to local government units regarding the campaign against the sale of counterfeit drugs.
“We will intensify this and make sure that our LGUs will join this campaign to get rid of these fake medicines because they are dangerous to the health of our constituents,” he said.
Currently, violators of the Counterfeit Law, especially those caught possessing counterfeit items, may face one day to six-month imprisonment.