Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gov't called to step up security vs fake medicine

Blame it to the country's 'weak' coastal security why smugglers are able to bring in counterfeit medicine.

Dr. Minerva Calimag, Philippine Medical Association (PMA) food, drugs, and cosmetics chairman, reportedly said that security in the country's coasts is weak, enabling smugglers to bring in fake medicine.

“If fake drugs are coming from outside [the country], our problem is how to secure the boarders because there are many channels through which it could come into the market,” Philippine Star quoted Calimag.

She also said that the government must be able to prevent the entry of counterfeit drugs to the country.

The Republic Act 8203, or the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs, stipulates that fake medicines pertain to unregistered imported drug products. It also refers to medicinal products, both branded and generic, that lack sufficient quantity of active ingredients, or containing the wrong ingredients, or having fraudulently mislabeled packaging.


The government had earlier received calls to toughen its measures in getting rid of of mercury-tainted beauty products sold in the markets.

In August, the EcoWaste Coalition reportedly said that despite the government ban issued in February, mercury-tainted cosmetics continue to be sold in parts of Metro Manila. GMA News said that the group laments the business-as-usual attitude of vendors of products such as skin lightening creams banned for containing high levels of mercury.

“It is obvious from the results of our test buys that the ban on mercury-tainted skin whitening creams is far from being enforced. It's high time for the government to flex its muscle, conduct stringent monitoring nationwide, and apprehend the culprits,” Aileen Lucero of EcoWaste's Project Protect reportedly said.

She also urged the authorities to protect unsuspecting consumers from being deceived and harmed by ensuring that only pre-tested mercury-free cosmetics are sold in shops.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had reportedly outlawed several products and filed cases against stores that sell banned, unregistered, and misbranded beauty care products.

The said products are mostly creams appearing to have originated from China.

Deemed to cure

Chinese medicinal and herbal products, along with the Chinese medicine in general, is said to be successful in treating wide range of conditions ranging from skin diseases, gastro-intestinal disorders, gynecological conditions, respiratory conditions, urinary problems, diabetes, and even psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.

But Philippine Pharmaceutical Association president Leonila Ocampo said that many Chinese medicinal and herbal products are not registered with the FDA.

Products not registered with the FDA is deemed counterfeit, although legitimate in the country where they were manufactured, she reportedly added.


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