PNP vows intensified crackdown vs. fake meds

MANILA The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday vowed to intensify its crackdown on counterfeit medicine.

PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa made the statement following MalacaAang instructions to file economic sabotage charges against makers and dealers of fake medicine.

"The only difference between the previous operations and the President's instructions was that the case we filed before against the violators of the law on fake medicine is only violation of the intellectual property rights which is a bailable offense. Now, Malacanang's legal office studied it and we were given instructions by the President that if we catch one, we should file economic sabotage against those involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit drugs. Next time, that is what we we'll do so that they cannot post bail," Dela Rosa told reporters.

Meanwhile, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Roel Obusan said they are working closely with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the President's directive.

"We have close coordination with the agency (FDA) in the person of retired chief superintendent Allen Bantolo. As of the present, magmula (from) 2017 we already have 13 operations and we have filed cases on about less than 20 persons on counterfeit of various medicines and drugs," Obusan said.

In its website, the FDA said it "is again reminding the public to be more vigilant in buying drug products as it has noted that counterfeit pharmaceutical products have become prevalent in the local market," .

The FDA cautioned that the counterfeit products pose serious threat to public health and safety. "Their effectivity is unverified and questionable. They may worsen illness and disease. They may cause serious adverse health consequences, another disease, drug resistance, or worst, death," it pointed out.

Counterfeit pharmaceutical products are those which either contain wrong ingredients, no active ingredients; or have the correct/active ingredients but in insufficient amount. These are also usually deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled.

The FDA likewise advised the public against the purchase and use of unregistered drug products that have not gone through the registration process of the agency and have not been issued with proper authorization in the form of Certificates of Product Registration.

To report continuous sale or distribution of unregistered health products, the public may send an e-mail to report@ fda.gov.ph, or through the online reporting facility, eReport, at www fda.gov.ph/ereport. Consumers may also call the Center for Drug Regulation and Research at telephone number (02)809-5596.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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