NBI agents seize P2M meds sold in sari-sari store in Iligan City
ILIGAN CITY—Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), raided a sari-sari store in Purok 9, Barangay Palao here around 5 p.m. Monday, July 22, and seized various medicines worth around P 2 million.
The store was owned by a certain Florencia Hinampas, who has been selling medicine samples and prescription drugs for about four years already, according to lawyer Abdul Jamal Dimaporo, NBI-Iligan head.
Dimaporo said the operation stemmed from a request by courier company Air 21 to have its delivery personnel investigated for several instances of lost medicine shipment.
The local franchisee of Air 21 has been facing numerous complaints from pharmaceutical distributors about missing shipments. This has alarmed Air 21 as its clients have refused to pay for the courier cost of the missing shipments.
Ilian Macala, the franchise owner of Air 21 in Iligan, said he lost almost P500,000 from their clients who refuse to pay because the shipments were not delivered to them.
One company, Boehringer Ingelhem (Philippines) Inc., complained about undelivered medicines for diabetes.
Dimaporo said that the NBI was able to trace the missing shipments to Hinampas’ sari-sari store, sold to it by Air 21’s delivery personnel, 42-year old Jalil Bangcola.
The said store has been selling prescription drugs and drug samples at prices lower than in pharmacies, Dimaporo added.
After the raid, Bangcola admitted to two instances when he sold the medicines shipped through Air 21 to Hinampas, the first being sometime in March this year.
He said the need to provide for his family pushed him to do the act.
Hinampas admitted to being in the business of selling prescription drugs and medicine samples through her sari-sari store for four years now but said she did not know she is violating the law.
During Monday’s raid, the store was manned by Hinampas’ nephew, Dindo Ebarle, who has attended to the store for some two years now.
Ebarle revealed that the store’s supply of medicine samples come from medical representatives who offered him their horde of sample medicines, which he can sell at a competitively low price.
He also confirmed to have transacted with Bangcola.
Authorities arrested Ebarle and Bangcola who are now in NBI custody.
Dimaporo said despite selling authentic medicines, Ebarle will still face charges of violating Presidential Decree No. 1612 or the Anti-Fencing Law, and the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the sale medicines that require doctor’s prescription.
Hinampas is subjected to further investigation, Dimaporo added.
“Kasi itong mga gamot na para sa high blood, para sa diabetes, itong mga antibiotics, kung hindi tama ang prescription, nakakasama ito sa tao. Maraming bumibili dito na walang resita ng doctor,” Dimaporo said.
(These medicines for high blood, for diabetes, these antibiotics. These should be used based on the proper prescription so that these are not harmful to people. Many buy here without the required prescription from a doctor.)
Bangcola will be facing qualified theft charges from Macala.
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