Three persons have been arrested in Pasay City for allegedly engaging in illegal sale of medicines for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
The NBI identified those arrested as Karen B. Amero, and Ronald S. Ceriola and Erickson L. Soriano, alleged office manager and delivery riders, respectively, of LMCSL Trading located at the Crestly Bldg. along Perlas Street in Pasay City.
In a statement, the NBI said the suspects were arrested last Sept. 28 during an entrapment operation conducted by the NBI’s Anti-Graft Division (NBI-AGD).
“Found and recovered from the possession of the Subjects are various types of medicines including Ivirem-Remdesivir,” it said.
It said that verification with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that “LMCSL Trading located at Caroyroyan, Pili, Camarines Sur has the existing License to Operate and not the one located at Crestly Building, Pasay City where the buy-bust operation took place.”
With the arrest of the suspects, charges of violations of Section 11(a), (j), and (k) of Republic Act No. 3720, the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, and Section 45(a) and (p) of RA 10918, the Philippine Pharmacy Act, were filed against them before the Pasay City Prosecutor’s Office, it said.
“Subjects are currently under the custody of NBI Detention Facility, Taft Avenue, Manila,” it added.
The NBI said the operation was conducted on FDA request “for investigation and possible entrapment operation on the alleged unauthorized selling of medicines used in the treatment of Covid-19 such as Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Baricitinib, among others, and that the medicines are allegedly being sold thru online platforms such as Facebook, Shopee, and Lazada.”
It also said: “Per FDA Advisory No. 2021-0759, Remdesivir is not approved by FDA for treatment of Covid-19 and has not been granted yet with Certificate of Product Registration (CPR). Thus, said medicine cannot be marketed commercially. In addition, use of Remdesivir for a limited amount and for a particular patient may only be allowed in hospitals or by physicians who are granted with a Compassionate Special Permit (CSP),” it added.