By Donna Rempillo
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga –An estimated P30,500,000 worth of illegal medicine, cosmetics, food and medical essentials were confiscated by agents of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in continuing raids in the Northern and Central Luzon region since the imposition of several levels of quarantine in the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Kung sa Chinese lang po, pumapalo na po ng higit kumulang mga 30 milyon yun, sa Chinese lang . Plus may programa kasi ang gobyerno, kasama natin ang DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) regarding sa mga overpricing ng mga produkto noong panahon ng ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine), kung isasama po natin yun, mga thirty million five hundred thousand, estimate lang po yun,” FDA OIC Gomel Gabuna said.
The FDA, together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Regional Office 3, and the Crime Investigation and Detection Group of Philippine National Police (PNP-CIDG), have raided a total of four different locations of establishments where illegal medical facilities, pharmacies, and warehouses were operating without license.
“Yung apat po na yun, wala pong license to operate po yun lahat at ang mga product po nila puro wala pong certificate of product registration po yung mga nakuha po natin,” Gabuna said.
The four entrapment operations also led to the arrest of seven Chinese, three of them medical doctors without working permits. They were caught dispensing unregistered medicines to their patients.
“Sa atin po kasi, only pharmacists or authorized persons ang pwedeng magdispense ng drugs, unless ang doctor ay pharmacist din, pwede syang magdispense,” Gabuna said.
The unregistered medicines were barely recognized when they passed through an x-ray machine for inspection as they were placed under boxes with food labels .
The confiscated medicines also violates the FDA labeling requirement. “Kapag nagmarket po kayo sa Philippines, dapat either po nasa Philippine language or nasa english language may translation po, so far wala po sila nun,” he said.
The confiscated medicines are now at the warehouse of FDA pending laboratory results for the 20 variants of unregistered conventional and medicinal herbs seized during the operation. As practiced by the FDA, the confiscated medicines were to be destroyed as a mode of disposing it.
“Pag gamot po talagang for destruction po yan kasi we cannot sell or donate kasi unang una violation of the law yung pumasok sila dito so di po talaga yan ido-donate,” Gabuna said.