The FDA plans to ask LGUs to prohibit “sari-sari” stores from selling medicines.
FDA — The Food and Drug Administration plans to ask local government units (LGUs) to prohibit “sari-sari” stores from selling medicines in order to prevent the sale of fake ones.
FDA officer-in-charge Oscar Gutierrez mentioned the idea to President Rodrigo Duterte in the weekly-taped “Talk to the People” public briefing aired late on Monday.
Gutierrez pointed out that LGUs were the ones issuing “sari-sari” stores licenses to operate. He proposed that LGUs can pass an ordinance banning those stores from selling medicines.
“FDA thinks that these sari-sari stores are also victims,” Gutierrez said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino. “We would like, if possible, to work with the LGUs so they can pass an ordinance that prevents the sari-sari stores from buying or carrying medicines.”
Gutierrez said that Davao de Oro province already has such an ordinance.
In the meantime, Gutierrez called on Filipinos to buy medicines only from FDA-licensed drug stores — of which there were 45,000 FDA-licensed drug stores nationwide.
Gutierrez also reported that the agency had investigated 185 “sari-sari” stores, 78 of which were found to be in violation of the Pharmacy Act. Of the 78 “sari-sari” stores, 9 were found to be selling fake medicines.
A total of 13 fake medicines, which were mostly COVID-related, were also found.
Gutierrez said that the agency has also linked with online shopping sites such as Shopee and Lazada to determine violations in marketing the fake medicines using the platforms.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, for his part, said that he would issue a memorandum circular “to have this campaign against selling fake medicines [stopped] up to the level of sari-sari stores.”
According to Año, those fake medicines were “dangerous to the health of our constituents”.
Meanwhile, President Duterte warned the public against online stores selling fake medicines as the FDA said that it has been monitoring online sales of medicines.
The President, who acknowledged that he wasn’t very familiar with technology, said that it’s better for the public to avoid online stores, especially when buying medicines.