By CNN Philippines Staff
Published Jan 11, 2022 7:44:18 PM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 11) – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted ₱30 million worth of counterfeit medicines made to appear like branded drugs, it announced in a statement on Tuesday.
The BOC said it launched its operations in Paranaque City last January 5 after it received tips about the fake medicines. They arrested a 31-year-old Pakistani national and brought him to the Paranaque City Prosecutors’ Office for an inquest. The suspect would be slapped with various cases.
“We received reports about the presence of counterfeit items. It’s not just items, but medicines. We acted on this immediately because this can pose as a health threat,” said Raniel Ramiro, Customs Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence Group.
The fake items were apparently labeled with household brand names such as Biogesic, Neozep, Bioflu, Medicol, and Alaxan FR. Some brands that have gained attention partly because of the ongoing global health crisis were also counterfeited. These are Immunpro, Ivermectin, Phenokinon F Injection, Planax, MX3, and others, the agency said.
The BOC noted that the items packed in cartons tagged with Chinese characters were deemed counterfeit, citing a certification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Unilab Pharmaceuticals.
As COVID cases surge, more Filipinos complained about the shortage of over-the-counter flu and fever medicines.
While the government previously clarified there was no shortage of drugs to treat some COVID symptoms, it has eventually issued an order on Tuesday limiting the number of over-the-counter fever and flu medicines a household can purchase due to increased demand. This is also to prevent consumers from hoarding, the order specified.
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