The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that the Philippine market is flooded with unregistered and fake pharmaceutical and beauty products, made locally or sourced from abroad.
"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 dose, and may cause more harm than good to their health if taken,” FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno said in a news release issued Wednesday.
Puno made the warning after the seizure of PHP3 million worth of counterfeit over-the-counter and anti-impotence drugs during a raid conducted by agents of the FDA and the police in an abandoned unit in M. Dela Fuente St. in Sampaloc, Manila last January 27.
Some 46 boxes containing 15 different brands of over-the-counter medicines and anti-impotence prescription drugs with Cialis and Tadalafil brands, were seized during the raid in the unit allegedly owned or occupied by one Florenda dela Rose Cortez and her partner Mushtaq Tahir, reportedly a Pakistani national.
Retired Police Chief Supt. Allen 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 RTC Branch 28 Judge Jean Marie Bacorro-Villana, and in the presence of Barangay 439, Zone 44 chairman Rolando Sison and the building administrator.
Bantolo said the seized fake products, believed to have been imported from China and/or India, were being sold directly or online at a minimum order of PHP10,000 to unsuspecting dealers, usually in the provinces, at a much lower price than their original cost.
Meanwhile, the FDA advised consumers to avoid being victimized by merchants of fake medicines and beauty products by purchasing such products only from government-licensed pharmacies and making sure they have the FDA Certificate of Product Registration.