Fake Drugs

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The government took the ire of two senators early this year and was pressed to take action on the reported spread of fake medicines in the country.

Senators Juan Flavier and Tessie Aquino-Oreta took turns in criticizing the administration of admitting helpless in curbing the proliferation of fake drugs. Falvier said that it is the task of BFAD to protect consumers from fake or substandard drugs. Noting that it is just a matter of prioritization, Flavier stressed that lack of budget and personnel are not excuses for not working deeper on this problem. Oreta, on the other hand, urged MalacaƱang to help BFAD take immediate steps against the syndicates behind the rampant smuggling of spurious medicines. (Manila Meteor, January 23)

In another news item, Flavier reportedly said that “if there are firms that stand to profit from fake drugs, these would be the multi-national companies that filed a case against the parallel drug-importation program of the government. The report said that while multi-national drug companies have remained silent of the spread of fake drugs, they were very vocal earlier over the possibility that fake or substandard drugs would flood the country if the government pushed through with its drug importation program. (Manila Meteor, January 24)

Meanwhile, the DOH announced in January this year that it will intensify its campaign against fake drugs and will focus in distributors, Health officials said that the DOH will be coordinating with the Bureau of Customs of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in monitoring THE entry of counterfeit medicines in the country. (Daily Tribune, January 24)

In a news report, Senator Oreta suggested to the DOH that the rampant proliferation of fake drugs should prompt it to increase the frequency of its routine inspections of medicines sold in drugstores to safeguard the health of consumers. She added that it should spare no resources in cracking down against those behind the bogus drugs menace. (Manila Standard, January 26)

Iloilo Rep. Narciso Monfort, on the other hand, is calling on his colleagues to look into the problem saying that the investigation will allow congress to enact measures that will ensure the protection of the public by preventing fake drugs to enter the country. (Bandera, March 15)

In a meeting with the NBI, BFAD representative Atty. Rene Galicia reported that counterfeit drugs continue to spread in the country and that they account for 20-30 percent of the local drug market. The agency clarified that not all counterfeit drugs are ineffective as many of these are just unregistered with BFAD. (PDI, April 12)

Meanwhile, Pfizer Inc., an American drug firm was quoted as blaming the government for the spread of fake medicines, saying that the drug-importation scheme only opened the floodgates for counterfeit medicines. (Today, April 23)

In the middle of this year, the DOH warned consumers on the re-emergence of fake drugs brought in by smugglers and unscrupulous traders in the country. The DOH based its warning in the report of BFAD that counterfeit drugs were collected from 121 drugstores from 1997-2001. (Manila Bulletin, June 12)

As part of the multi-agency effort in curbing the problem, the NBI seized P130,000.00 worth of fake drugs in ParaƱaque and arrested a Pakistan national in the process during a raid in the middle of this year. (PDI, June 22)

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