Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit www.mindanews.com for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press (www.atongpress.ning.com) for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

[NEWS] BFAD urges public to help in drive vs. fake medicines

(Thanks to MindaNews news service.)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 July) -- The Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD)
has called on the public to assist in the drive against fake medicines
by reporting "suspicious" drugs in the market as a city councilor here
raised on Wednesday an alarm against the proliferation of counterfeit
drugs.
Arnold Alendada, food and drugs regulation officer of BFAD-Southern
Mindanao, urged the public "to be vigilant against fake drugs and
report such incidents to BFAD for investigation."

He advised customers to keep the official receipt of the transaction
because it is useful in the complaint against fake drugs.

BFAD is encouraging the consumers to help, Alendada said, as they only
have six field inspectors to monitor at least 800 drug stores and
distributors around the region. He said BFAD organized its personnel
around the region into teams to inspect the drug stores per locality
instead of asking them to go alone.

Alendada said despite the manpower constraint, the inspectors
discovered recently that there are drug stores in Davao City that sell
products suspected to be fake. He added that a number of drugstores in
Davao City have already been closed for selling fake drugs.

He said that the regional office of BFAD could only monitor, collect
samples and report "suspicious drugs" to their central office in
Alabang (Muntinlupa City), which would then conduct tests to verify if
the medicines are fake.

Davao City Councilor Pilar Braga briefed reporters Wednesday about a
resolution she passed to the city council on July 4 asking health
authorities and the police to "look into the reported proliferation of
fake drugs in the city."

Braga cited a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) that
most of the fake medicines are fast-selling multivitamins and
antibiotics. The WHO report estimated that between 6 to 10 percent of
medicines in the world market are fake and is also most serious in
developing countries like the Philippines.

Braga's resolution expressed the need to check supply of counterfeit
drugs in the local market citing reports that such medicines continue
to be widely available at "bargain basement prices." The lady
councilor cited the need to educate consumers on the dangers of buying
fake drugs and encouraged them to buy only from reliable drug stores.

Braga told reporters that fake medicines pose a serious threat to the
health of people. Her privilege speech during the July 4 regular
session of the city council was entitled "Fake medicine, fake health."

Internet postings on fake drugs reveal their dangers, including loss of lives.

Braga said fake medicines either have correct ingredients yet packaged
by unregistered firms, wrong ingredients, inactive ingredients and
insufficient active ingredients.

Alendada said it is difficult to equip fully the public on identifying
fake medicines but if they suspect the medicine to be different from
the usual stock they bought, they have to report it.

He said that oftentimes the appearance of the packaging of fake
medicines are different from the registered one. Another sign is the
poor quality of printing of the packaging. He also advised consumers
to watch closely if there is absence or distortion of the expiration
date, lot or batch numbers. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)

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