Duterte orders arrest of makers, sellers of fake drugs


MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to arrest and charge with economic sabotage all persons who manufacture, import and sell counterfeit paracetamol tablets.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Duterte gave the directive on Tuesday night in Davao City after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned the public against fake 500-milligram Biogesic tablets.

“President Duterte has ordered the PNP chief to arrest all persons who manufacture, import, distribute, sell, administer, fake drugs,” Panelo said in an interview with Palace reporters Wednesday.

“They will be charged with economic sabotage because those acts undermine not only the economy because it will affect the law of supply and demand and affect the prices, but it also threatens the security of the nation because it endangers the vast health of our people,” he added.

According to media reports, the FDA said the United Laboratories Inc. or Unilab, the marketing authorization holder for Biogesic, had verified the presence of the fake drug in the market.

Under Republic Act No. 8203 or the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs, persons who manufacture, sell and distribute fake drugs will face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and PHP5-million fine “should a counterfeit drug be the proximate cause of death of a victim.”

Republic Act 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009 also prohibits the importation, selling or offering for sale of counterfeit medicines.

Unilab said fake Biogesic tablets appear brighter or paler than usual, while their packaging is significantly different from the one duly registered with the FDA. PNA-northboundasia.com