MANILA, Philippines – Skin whiteners and slimming pills have overtaken sex-enhancing drugs as the most counterfeited products in the country, according to the chief of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
IPOPHL director-general Ricardo Blancaflor said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday, May 7, that his office was stepping up its its cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against the proliferation of fake skin whitening and slimming products in the market, some sold in regular drugstores.
“The FDA has been very active because counterfeit drugs are a different issue. This involves public health unlike fake apparel or bags [that don’t hurt] users,” Blancaflor said.
He said that since last year, skin whitening and slimming products have been the most faked products in the country, as they fulfill the aspiration of consumers, especially women.
Blancaflor said antibiotics used to hold top spot among counterfeit drugs in the country but since the availability of cheap generic antibiotics, unscrupulous traders began selling fake sex-enhancing drugs for men like Viagra and Cialis.
Made in India?
When asked, Blancaflor said the share of fake drug sales in the country in total pharmaceutical sales “should be lower” than the global estimate of 10%.
Blancaflor suspects that India may be the source of the fake drugs but he does not discount the possibility that some of of the drugs are locally manufactured.
He also said that some people do not report their purchase of fake drugs due to embarrassment.
“There had been reports that some customers had been adversely affected after consuming or using these fake medicines but in the case of Viagra, nobody wants to admit (or go public),” he said.
He said in the Philippines, counterfeit drugs are sold in small shops and even neighborhood drugstores.
Blancaflor laments the fact that counterfeit medicines still find their way into the Philippines when rules are already very strict.
He also said that any medicine not registered with the FDA “is automatically considered counterfeit even if it has all the documents, even if it has all the main ingredients and carries the same brand.”
Blancaflor said that on April 26, IPOPHL and the National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) held a ceremonial destruction of fake pharmaceutical products with an estimated value of P300 million. – Rappler.com