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FDA warns public on fake vitamins sold online

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public against fake multivitamins being sold on the Internet.

In an advisory posted on its website, the FDA said that it had monitored counterfeit multivitamins and mineral tablets, including Centrum and Centrum Silver of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (PCH), being advertised and offered for sale online through a site named Beeconomic Philippines Inc.

Beeconomic Philippines Inc. is said to be owned and operated by an outfit called Groupon Philippines.

According to the FDA, it has not yet issued any guidelines on the online sale or advertisement of pharmaceutical products.

“The FDA hereby warns the public from buying medicines online until such time that the FDA can assure the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines sold through this medium,” it said.

It advised consumers to buy medicines only from FDA-licensed establishments and outlets.

An initial investigation conducted by the FDA and PCH showed that the labels of the counterfeit Centrum and Centrum Silver products differ from the FDA-registered products.

“The counterfeit products do not bear the FDA certificate of product registration number and do not contain the same formulation approved by the FDA. They do not carry the complete name and address of the manufacturer and/or distributor as required by the FDA,” the advisory read.

Also, it said, “the font size of the generic name (on these products) is not in conformity with the labeling requirements of the Generics Law of 1988, which requires that the generic name should at least be one point size bigger than the brand name.”

The FDA said the products are counterfeit as defined by Republic Act No. 8203, otherwise known as the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs.

“The said establishments are violating the provisions of Republic Act No. 9711, otherwise known as the FDA Act of 2009, which prohibits the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer or retail of any drug product by any natural juridical person without the License to Operate (LTO) from the FDA,” the agency added.

The FDA also urged the public to report via report@fda.gov.ph any person or establishment illegally advertising and selling medicines.

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