Customs agents seize P30 million worth of fake medicines; nab suspect
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized P30-million worth of fake over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol and arrested an alleged suspect.
This announcement from BOC comes amid an alleged shortage of medicines for flu in pharmacies.
The bureau said in a statement that the counterfeit medicines – which include Biogesic, Neozep, Bioflu, Immunpro, Ivermectin, Phenokinon F Injection, Medicol, Planax, Alaxan FR, and MX3 – were intercepted January 5.
Members of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service at the Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP) discovered the fake medicines – packed in cartons tagged with Chinese characters – in Barangay Marcelo, Parañaque City.
The BOC said the agents arrested a suspect it identified as Adel Rajput, 31, a Pakistani. The suspect was brought to the Parañaque City Prosecutors’ Office for an inquest. The bureau said he will be slapped with various complaints as the suspect violated Sec. 1401 (Unlawful Importation/Exportation), Sec. 1113 (Property Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture) in relation to Sec. 118 (Prohibited Importation and Exportation) of the Republic Act 10863 or Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), and the Republic Act No. 8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines and its Pertinent Rules and Regulations).
The suspect’s visa will also be for revocation by the Bureau of Immigration, the BOC noted.
“We received reports about the presence of counterfeit items. It’s not just items, but medicines. We acted on this immediately because this can pose a health threat,” Customs Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence Group Raniel Ramiro said in a statement.
“They are selling these to unsuspecting people whose only hope is to buy authentic medicines for themselves and their loved ones,” he added.
The confiscated medicines were brought to the BOC premises, and inspection and inventory were still ongoing.
On November 24, 2021, the BOC seized fake medicines with an estimated value of P50 million from a warehouse in Pasig City.
“It is sad how these criminals are using the pandemic for their own gain, especially when it comes to medicines. These are medicines that people thought will relieve them of their pain, their conditions. It is unforgivable that these individuals are using people’s desperation to earn money,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in the same statement.
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.