During the Cordillera Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (RLECC) meeting at the Baguio City Police Office, Nadia Navarro of the FDA-CAR said the public could be protected against fake medicines by buying from legitimate suppliers and distributors, as well as licensed pharmacies.
She said counterfeit medicines are substandard, unregistered or falsified.
A substandard medicine has lesser content of active ingredient or below the 80 percent threshold.
An unregistered or unlicensed medicines are those registered and sold abroad but not registered by the FDA, which only happens when the medicines are subjected to tests.
“If we go abroad and we buy medicines and bring them home, they are considered as unregistered or unlicensed. If used for consumption, the FDA will not confiscate them but selling them to the public will mean confiscation for being illegal,” Navarro said.
She said the most common counterfeited medicines include antihypertensive drugs and antibiotics.
Navarro cited Viagra, a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension, has a high demand among adult men because of its effect on allegedly enhancing sexual performance.
She said Viagra is mainly intended for the heart and its effect on a man’s sexual experience is a mere side effect.
“It is being sold online at a much lower price, which should make a person wary rather than pursuing to buy the product,” Navarro said.
Navarro admitted they do not know the extent of the problem regarding the counterfeiting of medicines.
"Counterfeiting of medicines is a lucrative activity but poses high risks to people," she said, adding that the FDA has a problem of identifying which is fake and authentic drugs, where and who produces them, which could also involve a syndicate or fly-by-night operators.
“Counterfeit medicines are not effective, may contain harmful ingredients, may worsen a disease or cause another disease. It may also cause drug resistance and even death,” Navarro said.
She also urged the public to report to the FDA or the police any suspected counterfeit medicines and make sure to keep the suspected fake product bought for comparison.
Aside from medicines, Navarro said the FDA also issues advisories about food products, which have been banned in the Philippine market. (PNA)
By Liza Agoot