Senate asked to probe sale of fake drugs
MANILA, Philippines — Now it’s not only the prevalence of illegal drugs that put the Filipinos’ life at risk, but the proliferation of fake drugs as well.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has sought an inquiry into reports that the Philippines has the highest incidence of counterfeit drugs in Southeast Asia, and described the practice as “a large scale swindle of the cruelest kind.”
According to Recto, the Philippines was “being depicted as a hot spot for knock-off drugs” in the 2019 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report (UNODC), titled “Transnational Organized Crime in Southeast Asia: Evolution, Growth and Impact.”
This was a cause for alarm and action, said Recto.
The UNODC report found that fake medicines, mostly from Pakistan, India and China, entered the Philippines through an illicit trade network from 2014 to 2017, he said.
Moreover, there were also reports that locally manufactured counterfeit medicines were being sold over the counter, he added.
The government should identify the “misbranded, spurious, fake and falsely labeled drugs” as these dupe Filipinos.
And if it is true that fake medicines are sold cheaper in sari-sari stores, it is the poor who would suffer more, he said.
“Then they are victimizing the poor who often have to borrow money to buy medicines or cost-cut by buying doses lower than what the doctor has prescribed,” he said.
“Not all drug dealers sell ‘shabu’ (crystal meth). Others sell fake medicines for infection, rabies, tuberculosis, cancer, cough, and fever,” he added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.