By Analou De Vera
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday reminded consumers anew that the online selling of medicines is illegal in the Philippines.
FDA Officer-in-Charge Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo said at the sidelines of the Anti-Counterfeit Medicine Summit in Pasay City that the public should avoid purchasing medicines that are sold online because they might be counterfeit products and could pose potential health risks.
“Hindi mo alam saan nanggaling iyan, walang nag-check niyan na pharmacist kung totoong genuine product iyan or counterfeit iyan,” he said.
(You don’t know where they came from, they haven’t been checked by a pharmacist if they are genuine or counterfeit products.)
The health official said that branded and popular medicines as well as those in short supply are the most common products being counterfeited.
Domingo said that it is difficult to monitor if the medicines sold online are genuine because they are being sold by unlicensed sellers.
“Kung i-checheck niyo yung mga nagbebenta – individuals eh. Wala naman itong mga license to operate o license to sell… Hindi naman nila alam kung saan kinukuha yung mga produkto na iyan, so ito nakakabahala talaga,” the health official said.
(Those selling online are individuals who have no licenses to operate or sell [medicines]. We don’t know the sources of these products. It’s really alarming.)
Domingo noted that there are also certain procedures for the handling of medicines to maintain their efficacy.
“Hindi pwedeng i-transport ang gamot basta basta, may temperature iyan, may humidity…kaya isipin mo kung bibilhin mo iyan online. Yung nagbebenta hindi naman niya alam kung binili nya iyan sa totoong manufacturer; tapos ipapadala nila sa iyo through courier, hindi mo naman alam kung paano na-handle iyan,” he said.
(You cannot just transport medicines because there are certain factors [to be considered] such as temperature or humidity, so imagine if you will buy it online. The seller might not know if they bought it from a genuine drug manufacturer. Then the products will be transported via courier, you don’t know how they were handled.)
“Maaring pagdating sa iyo, hindi na sya ganoon ka effective as you would want it to be. Yung health risk malaki,” he said.
(It’s possible that when it gets to you, it might not be as effective as you would want it to be. The health risk is huge.)