Following the alleged shortage in flu medicines in some drugstores in the city, Quezon City (QC) Mayor Joy Belmonte on Wednesday, Jan. 5, warned hoarders who are taking advantage of the situation.
“We will not hesitate to prosecute anybody found hoarding and profiteering these medicines. They are preventing citizens na gusto lang bumili ng gamot para sa kanilang pamilya (who want to buy medicine for their family). We won’t let them get away with this,” Mayor Belmonte said.
This, after the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Tuesday that there is no insufficiency of medicines for flu-like symptoms amid the observed rise in demand.
Attorney Niño Casimiro, QC legal officer, said that individuals who engage in hoarding medicines and other basic needs and prime commodities will be charged for violation of Section 15 of Republic Act (RA) 7581, the "Price Act,” and RA 7394, the "Consumer Act."
The Price Act provides consumer protection by ensuring stability of the supply and price of basic needs and prime commodities, and prescribing measures against undue price increase in times of emergencies, according to the Official Gazette (www.officialgazette.gov.ph).
It also said the Consumer Act protects the interests of the consumers, promotes general welfare, and establishes standards of conduct for business and industry.
According to the local government, profiteers will also be given penalties under City Ordinance SP-2914 which regulates the selling of basic needs during calamities and emergency situations.
It added that the City Health Department (QCHD) also talked with the medicine supplier of health centers to stock up on medicines, particularly for flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, colds, and cough)
Belmonte urged the citizens to report any individual or businesses caught doing the said violations by calling Helpline 122 or through the "QCitizen Watch" in the city’s official website: https://quezoncity.gov.ph/