DILG steps up drive vs selling of fake medicines

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is now crafting a memorandum circular instructing local government units to step up the crackdown against individuals selling fake medicines.

“We will support the Food and Drug Administration through a memo circular to our LGUs to have this campaign against the selling of fake medicines up to the level of sari-sari stores,” said DILG Sec. Eduardo Año.

Año made the assurance after FDA Deputy General Oscar Gutierrez reported that 78 sari-sari stories were found illegally selling medicines out of the 185 reported to the agency in three regions.

Gutierrez noted that 13 stores were found selling or distributing fake drugs to the public.

Under the counterfeit law, Gutierrez pointed out that sari-sari stores are prohibited from selling medicines which carry penalties of a minimum of six months and one day in jail.

However, Gutierrez maintained that sari-sari stores may be “victims” of this illegal trade since some LGUs issue them licenses to operate, adding that the FDA’s had requested the LGUs to pass ordinances that prohibit them from selling medicines.

In the same briefing, Año reported that at present there are only 390 lockdown areas in the country from the 605 recorded last week citing that there are only 76,000 coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) active cases in the country.

“At ang barangay po na 210 (under granular lockdown) last week ay 153 na lang. At ang naapektuhang households, mula sa 744, ay nandito na lamang po sa 355 na kung saan 499 individuals ang apektado (And in the barangays with 210 last week is down to only 153. And the number of affected households is at 355 from 744 where 499 individuals are affected),’’ Año said.

With the COVID-19 case downward trend, Año expects the number of granular lockdown areas to further plummet.

“Pero tuloy-tuloy pa rin po ang ating kampanya pagbabakuna sapagka’t nakita natin ito po ang malaking tulong para mapababa natin ‘yung mga kaso ng COVID-19 (But the (COVID-19) vaccination campaign will continue because this is a boost to lower the number of COVID-19),’’ he added.

In last week’s illegal drug campaign, Año said that the government’s anti-narcotics authorities conducted 1,342 anti-illegal drug operations where P56, 081,415 worth of shabu and marijuana were seized.

The DILG chief welcomed the news that 60 suspected drug personalities surrendered to law enforcement authorities during the said period despite having five casualties who elected to fight it out with the anti-narcotics teams. (Chito A. Chavez)