Monday, December 13, 2010

FDA confiscates illegal whitening products, sex pills

Operatives of the Food and Drug Admiistration (FDA) on Friday seized more than a hundred boxes of prohibited whitening products and sex pills during a raid conducted on several Chinese drugstores in Metro Manila.

The seized whitening products carried names like Jiao Li, Doctor Bai Skin Revitalizing Cream, and Beauty Girl Double White, among others, have already been prohibited by the FDA since early this year for possessing excessive amounts of mercury.

One of the seized products, FDA said, is Jiao Li which is prohibited due to its high mercury content.

Ecowaste Coalition, a public interest network, said the the banned product contains 3,800-13,000 parts per million of mercury. The safe level of mercury for any medication is only 1 part per million.

"Ang mercury ay nakakamatay kasi ang tama nito ay sa utak ng tao," said Aileen Lucero of Ecowaste Coalition.

The sex pills, meanwhile, are also among the list of prohibited and dangerous drugs from the FDA.

But even after several such raids, drugstores still sell them because they are cheap and popular. FDA raided drugstores in Ongpin, Recto, and Carriedo, Manila.

"Hindi naman kami nagpupumilit magbenta eh. 'Yong mga customer ang makukulit, hinihingi," says Edwin Sy, owner/manager of the Lam Kang Drugstore in Carriedo where boxes of banned products were seized.

It is FDA's third time to raid Lam Kang, and they said this time around they were actually able to seize more boxes of prohibited items than in previous raids.

Meanwhile, drugstore owner Alfredo Lee of Benson Drugstore in Recto repeatedly tried to block the camera as FDA operatives searched his establishment.

He shouted at the cameraman in more than one occasion. In halting Filipino, he denied knowing that some of their products are prohibited, despite that fact that this is also FDA's third time to raid the Benson Drugstore.

FDA personnel also found mercury-laced cosmetics in his store, as well as suspiciously-labelled products that bear a different name but resemble other creams under the FDA blacklist.

They said that manufacturers maybe trying to confuse authorities by printing out different boxes and names for the same product.


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