Combined agents of the Food and Drug Administration and the Philippine National Police have seized over P3 million worth of counterfeit over the counter and anti-impotence drugs during a raid Friday night at an abandoned storage unit in Sampaloc, Manila.
The FDA identified the owner or occupants of the raided unit on M. Dela Fuente St. in Sampaloc Manila as Florenda Dela Rose Cortez and her partner Mushtaq Tahir, allegedly a Pakistani national.
Forty-six big boxes containing 15 different brands of OTC medicines being manufactured by a local drug company and the anti-impotence prescription drug brands Cialis and Tadalafil were seized during the raid.
“This continuing anti-fake drugs operation is part of the FDA’s Joint Task Force D-PUNCH, or Destroying Products Unfit for Human Consumption campaign, together with the PNP,” FDA Director General Nela Charade G. Puno said.
The public or the consumers must always be vigilant against these fake medicines, for they may be contaminated, contain wrong or no active ingredient, could have the right active ingredient but at the wrong doze, and may cause more harm than good to their health if taken, Puno pointed out.
She said the Philippine drug market is now flooded with numerous unregistered and fake pharmaceutical and beauty products, produced locally or abroad, and sold in the market with the intent to deceptively represent their origins, authenticity or effectiveness.
To avoid being victimized by these merchants of fake medicines and beauty products, the consumers should purchase them only from government-licensed pharmacies and make sure they have the Certificate of Product Registration from the FDA, Puno said.
Allen B. Bantolo, Officer in Charge of the FDA's Regulatory Enforcement Unit, said the raid was conducted on the strength of a search warrant issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 28 Judge Jean Marie A. Bacorro-Villana in the presence of Bgy. 439. Zone 44 Chairman Rolando Sison and the building’s administrator.
Bantolo said the raid was part of a follow-up operation together with agents from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit’s Anti-Fraud Commercial Crimes Unit led by Supt. Raymund Liguden.
“We were able to track down and arrest earlier the driver of the Filipina suspect and her Pakistani partner while about to deliver some P50,000 worth of fake over-the-counter drugs in Tondo, and we used him to locate their unit in Sampaloc, Manila,” he said.
The seized fake products, believed to have been imported from China or India, are being sold directly or via online transactions at a minimum order of P10,000 to unsuspecting dealers at a much lower price than their original cost, Bantolo said.
These products are usually sold to small-time dealers in the provinces, particularly in Luzon, he added.