Mommy bloggers sound alarm over China-made ‘fake’ med supplies
MANILA, Philippines — Mommy bloggers have sounded the alarm over the proliferation of “fake” medical supplies from China at the height of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and called on authorities to address the problem.
“[I call on the] FDA (Food and Drug Administration, the DOH (Department of Health) or kung sinumang concerned government body to closely monitor ito kasi it’s an important concern,” Annalyn Jusay, an online entrepreneur and blogger, told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview on Sunday.
“It may defeat the purpose of what it’s intended for. Kasi very delicate matter yan e, you’re supposed to wear facemask for protection against COVID-19 tapos mamaya di naman effective kasi fake pala yung binili mo,” she added.
In her August 6 blog post, Jusay also said that instead of focusing on imposing taxes on online sellers, the government should “train its eyes” on the sale and proliferation of “fake and illegal” face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and other medical supplies from China.
“There should be harsh [penalties] against all violators because the safety and protection of everyone is at stake, especially the medical frontliners leading the fight against [COVID-19],” her blog post further read.
Jusay also called out the “unregulated” sale of such products on various Facebook groups.
Fellow bloggers also raised a similar issue through separate blog posts, as they expressed disappointment over the proliferation of fake or substandard products from unscrupulous manufacturers “taking advantage of the pandemic in order to infiltrate the Philippine markets.”
Michelle Hill Estranero of rockstarmomma.com underscored the importance of face masks and other medical supplies as the country grapples with a global pandemic.
“But the illegal trade of these counterfeit items during a public health crisis shows their total disregard for people’s well-being,” she said in her recent blog post.
“The fake masks and medical supplies may pose a threat to our health because they are not made with the correct materials or may lack the specifications that would prevent viruses or bacteria from entering into breathing passages, according to industry experts,” she added.
For her part, Rochelle Rivera of RochellRivera.com said “most counterfeit and substandard products that we’ve been seeing now are mostly China-made and have been manufactured in China.”
“A lot of our personal protective equipment and products are imported also from the same country,” she pointed out.
Kaleena Figuracion of Kfiguracion.com, meanwhile, said she is saddened with how there seems to be “no limit” to the proliferation of “fake goods” from China.
“Our major concern right now is the rising number of fake medicines and medical equipment for [COVID-19] that are available in the market today,” she said in her blog.
Earlier, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) confiscated nearly P250 million worth of smuggled or fake PPE sets and other medical supplies, mostly from China.
The Department of Finance (DOF) said the BOC confiscated these counterfeit and unregistered items during the period March 25 to May 31, or during the height of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Promote local products
Rivera then called for a ban on fake China-made products, especially PPEs, face masks, and shields, among others.
“It will further harm us more than protect us,” she said.
“It’s high time we promote our own products because as I can see, a lot of Filipinos are also competent and dedicated to providing A-grade face masks and face shields [for] our fellowmen,” she added.
Further, the mommy bloggers called on the public to be “vigilant” and “meticulous” in purchasing health supplies and medicines.
”Sadly, illegitimate Chinese manufacturers will stop at nothing to make a profit and counterfeiting may not be defeated completely, but it can be discouraged through law and culturally sensitive tactics by the government,” Estranero said.
“I hope they will put their best effort to regulate the market and stop the proliferation of fake or substandard products coming from China,” she added.
Figuracion, meanwhile, warned that a “bigger danger” lies in the proliferation of fake medicines and vaccines for COVID 19.
“What makes this dangerous is that it gives people a false sense of security that they are protected from the virus when in reality they are not,” she said.
To date, the Philippines’ COVID-19 caseload has neared the 130,000-mark with 3,109 additional infections.
Of the number, 67,117 have already recovered from the respiratory disease while 2,209 have died.
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