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Living In Cebu Forum. Best Expat Living in Cebu. Find Out Everything On Philippines

Living In Cebu Forum. Best Expat Living in Cebu. Find Out Everything On Philippines

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Senate probe into 'falsified' medicines in Philippines sought

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https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/08/12/1942768/senate-probe-falsified-medicines-philippines-sought

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 MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto called for an investigation into the presence and prevalence of fraudulent medicines in the Philippines after a United Nations report found the country has the highest incidence of “falsified” drugs in Southeast Asia.

In filing the unnumbered Senate resolution, Recto stressed that “being depicted as a hotspot for knockoff drugs” in the UN report is a “cause for alarm and action.”

“[The Senate investigation’s aim] is to know the gravity of the problem and formulate remedial measures that will strengthen the capacity of the Food and Drug Administration and all law enforcement agencies to defeat this problem,” Recto said.

A United Nations study on transnational crime published in April found that the Philippines had recorded the highest pharmaceutical crime incidents among Southeast Asian nations from 2013 to 2017.

Of the 460 incidents within the region, 193 occurred in the Philippines. It was followed by Thailand (110), Indonesia (93) and Vietnam (49).

“Falsified” medicines in the country include anti-tuberculosis medicines, paracetamol, and anti-rabies vaccines.

'Spurious, fake, falsely labelled'

The UN report defined “falsified” medicines as pharmaceutical products marketed with the intention of deceiving buyers as to the content of what they are buying. These included spurious/fake/falsely labelled products and those that do not contain what they purport to.

The lawmaker noted that the illicit trade in fraudulent medicines is a “large scale swindle of the cruellest kind” as their victims, mostly the poor, think they are taking authentic medicines that will cure them and “not something made of flour.”

“Hindi lahat ng drug dealers shabu ang ibinibenta. Ang iba, pekeng gamot sa infection, rabies, TB, cancer, ubo at lagnat ang inilalako,” Recto said.

(Not all drug dealers sell shabu [methamphetamine]. Others sell fake medicine against infection, rabies, tuberculosis, cancer, cough and fever.)

He added: “Households buy half a billion pesos worth of drugs a day. Hindi pa kasama ang binibili ng mga pribadong ospital, gobyerno at insurance companies na nasa bilyun-bilyong piso din ang halaga taun-taon.”

(Households buy half a billion pesos worth of drugs a day. This doesn’t include those purchased by private hospitals, government and insurance companies that also amount to billions every year.)

In March last year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to arrest makers and distributors of fake over-the-counter medicines.

A 2017 study from the World Health Organization found that one in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries is either substandard or falsified.

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