NBI hunts down suppliers of fake medicines in Cebu

Dale G. Israel
NBI hunts down suppliers of fake medicines in Cebu
The NBI says that of the 23 pharmacies that were subject to a test buy operation around Metro Cebu, 5 sold fake medicines

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas has urged the public to buy medicine only from “reliable” pharmacies, following its confiscation of fake medicines from several small drug stores  in this city.

NBI-7 Assistant Regional Directior Augusto Isidro said ordinary people cannot readily distinguish what between fake and genuine medicine, based on the 7 boxes of fake medicines in their custody.

Para to be safe, doon tayo bumili sa mga malalaking drugstore and authorized (To be safe, consumers should buy from more well-known drug stores),” said Isidro.

Isidro said that of the 23 pharmacies that were subject to a test buy operation around Metro Cebu, at least 5 sold fake medicines.

Assisted by Unilab experts as walk-in complainants, the team led by NBI special investigator Florante Gaoiran was able to fill up 7 boxes from various pharmacies he described as small and catering to particular communities, except for Twin Star J Pharmacy in Sanciangko Street in downtown Cebu City. 

The other pharmacies positively found selling fake medicines include RX Pharmacy in T. Padilla; Lodith Pharmacy in Paknaan, Mandaue City; T&A Pharmacy in Tabunok, Talisay City; and Purchaser Pharmacy and General Merchandise in West Poblacion, Naga City. 

Based on initial observations by Unilab, the fake drugs have inferior quality packaging with markings that are faded or not clear. The lot number and other markings also indicate that the drugs are not authentic.

The fake medicines are unusually very cheap compared to the authentic ones, said Isidoro. 

“’Yung mga imitations talagang parang similar ang pagkakagawa. ‘Yun ang sa tingin ng ordinary consumer,” said Isidro in an interview after the operations this morning, July 9. “Hindi yan dumaan sa FDA and hindi natin alam kung ano ang composition ng mga medicines na ‘yan.” 

(Imitation medicine look really similar to the original. That’s what ordinary consumers believe. But those medicines didn’t go through FDA regulations and we don’t know their composition.)

The Food and Drug Administration will test the confiscated drugs before cases are filed against the pharmacies that sold them.

Most drugs confiscated were imitations original brands of common medicines like Alaxan-FR, Solmux, Diatabs, Enervon-C, Neo Aspilets, Calcibloc, Biogesic, Ceelin, Medicol, Neozep, Tuseran, Dolfenal, and other Unilab products.

The number of confiscated fake drugs in Cebu, however, are still not at alarming levels, the NBI said.  – Rappler.com

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