19 February 2005

Fake Medicines

What can be worse than getting sick and being treated in a clinic?

I think the unfortunate answer is.....getting sick, being treated in a clinic, and taking fake prescribed medicine.

P5-M Fake, Expired Drugs Seized
By Cecille Suerte Felipe
The Philippine Star 02/19/2005

Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized P5 million worth of counterfeit and expired drugs during a raid on the house of a former medical representative in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga last Thursday afternoon.

As this developed, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday that 80 percent of some 1,300 drug stores in the Ilocos region were found selling fake drugs, mostly vitamins and medicines for asthma, hypertension and diarrhea.

"Since we started the campaign, many drug stores have started closing down, especially in the (Pangasinan) towns of Sta. Barbara and Calasiao," said Dr. Eduardo Janeiro, DOH regional director.

Upon orders of NBI director Reynaldo Wycoco, his men are tracing which drug stores and clinics could have bought fake and expired drugs from Pedro Guevarra, 43, who was arrested after the raid on his house at Morning Sun Subdivision.

When presented to the media, Guevarra admitted selling fake and expired medicines such as antibiotics and multivitamins to clinics in the provinces.

Guevarra was collared after he agreed to sell P500,000 worth of assorted medicines to an undercover agent.

"Guevarra’s illegal activities put the health of people taking the pills or capsules at great risk," said lawyer Rosauro Bautista, executive officer of NBI-National Capital Region.

Guevarra, according to the NBI, had been selling fake and expired drugs for six years, procuring expired medicines set to be disposed of in Tondo, Manila, tampering with their expiration dates and then selling them to various clinics.

Laboratory tests showed that the drugs seized from Guevarra were, indeed, counterfeit or expired.

[Philippine Star]

If this heist has been going on for SIX LONG YEARS, methinks we are merely looking at the tip of the iceberg here.

My feeling is that Mr.Guevarra is not acting alone and I think there are others like him spreading counterfeit medicine to innocent patients and doctors in other parts of the country. I can also bet that the main bait these shenanigans use in attracting unsuspecting clients is the unbelievable low price of their fake medicines.

How can such people sleep peacefully at night knowing they are putting many of their sick countrymen in more danger? They are sicker than sick, if you ask me.

While the joint efforts of the NBI and DOH is commendable, I still think that their heroic efforts came a tad late...and a similar drive should have been instituted many years ago.

Be vigilant guys. Always get your prescribed medicines in trusted and respected pharmacies.

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