MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday warned the public against buying medicines from sari-sari (variety) stores and other unlicensed drug outlets.
FDA acting director Kenneth Hartiga-Go said the continuous consumption of medicines bought from these unlicensed stores posed health risks to patients and consumers.
“The FDA cannot assure the consumers that the medicines sold from these illegal outlets were manufactured under GMP or Good Manufacturing Practice,” Hartigan-Go said in an advisory.
“Contaminated or adulterated medicines may result to unexpected secondary effects or side effects. Improperly handled or stored medicines, particularly biological products, are rendered ineffective when exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity,” he added.
He said consumers who buy their medicines from these unlicensed stores were at risk of suffering from adverse drug reactions, some of which could be life-threatening.
“Patients may unknowingly buy a counterfeit product containing inert ingredients or genuine medicine that are expired and have been resold by unscrupulous peddlers,” Hartigan-Go said.
He also warned against self-medication, particularly against using prescription drugs without consulting a doctor.
“The FDA is equally concerned about patients who are self-medicating. Patients are advised to seek professional healthcare before taking any medicine,” Hartigan-Go said.
“The FDA’s concern extends to patients who might be taking prescription drugs for the first time without consulting a physician,” he added.
Hartigan-Go ordered FDA drug inspectors to coordinate with local officials to go after sari-sari stores and other unlicensed establishments that persist in selling medicines.
“Failure to heed the FDA or local government warning will mean violating the FDA Act of 2009 (and) other FDA rules and regulations,” he said.
Those who suffered adverse effects of medicines bought from sari-sari stores could report these to the FDA Adverse Drug Reaction Unit (165-332 or 857-9000 local 221). All information to be given will be held in strict confidence, he added.