News Release

FDA urged to intensify fight against counterfeit drugs

President Rodrigo Roa Dutere wants sellers of counterfeit medicines prosecuted to the full extent of the law to deter them from continuing their illegal trade.

During his regular Talk to the People Monday night, President Duterte said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) legal team, with the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), should ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.

“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,” President Duterte said.

The FDA should monitor these businesses, President Duterte suggested, adding effective prosecution is necessary to discourage them from selling fake medicines that threaten 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 medicines, were confiscated from 13 stores.

Sari-sari stores, the FDA head said, are mere victims in the proliferation of counterfeit drugs.

“Dito naman po kasi sa sari-sari store, FDA thinks po na ‘yung sari-sari store po kasi are also victims,” Gutierrez pointed out.

“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.”

The FDA chief appealed to the public to only buy medicines from 44,989 FDA-licensed drug outlets, including 3,536 Retail Outlet for Non-Prescription Drugs (RONPD).

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. PND