Atty. Vanessa Gana Legasto of FDA’s Legal Services and Support Center discuss the major provisions of RA 8203 during the forum in celebration of the National Consciousness Week Against Counterfeit medicines held on November 23, 2018 at Plaza Maria Luisa Suites Inn, Dumaguete City. (PIA-Negros Oriental)
DUMAGUETE CITY — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intensifies its campaign against counterfeit medicines by organising a forum attended by community stakeholders.
Officers of FDA-7 recently gathered representatives of different drug stores in the city and also concerned government agencies in a forum on countering counterfeit medicines held at Plaza Maria Luisa Suites Inn, according to a report from PIA-Central Visayas.
Atty. Vanessa Gana Legasto of FDA’s Legal Services and Support Centre underscored that the objective of the forum is to raise awareness on the proliferation of fake medicines in the market and also strengthen the collaboration between agencies and the concerned sector in preventing the circulation of these counterfeit drugs.
Republic Act 8203 or the special law on counterfeit drugs which was enacted in 1996 states that a counterfeit drug “refers to a medicinal product which has a wrong ingredient, without active ingredients, correct ingredients but not in the amount as provided, and sufficient quantity of active ingredients which may lead to reduction of drug safety, efficacy, quality, strength, or purity.”
In addition to this, a medicine can also be considered counterfeit if it bears without authorisation the trademark, trade name or other identification mark.
“It’s dangerous in the sense that people cannot expect the quality and purity of these products because it didn’t pass the standards of FDA,” Atty. Legasto disclosed.
“It doesn’t pose only threat or danger but more so it could kill. It doesn’t pose only threat or danger but more so it could kill. That’s the most dangerous part there. We should not allow the public to be unaware of counterfeit drugs,” She added.
FDA -7 Officer Irish Samar noted that branded or generic medicines are prone to counterfeiting.
The most common counterfeit drugs are anti-hypertensive and antibiotics, lifestyle medicines like slimming products and sometimes products that fix erectile dysfunction, and other leading brands in the market.
Some ways to distinguish a counterfeit medicine is to check its packaging.
Samar said an item could be a suspected counterfeit drug when it is covered by an inferior packaging material, if there is no generic name, and if the brand name is bigger than the generic name of the medicine.
Furthermore, consumers should also take note on the color of the tablet, capsules, liquid in vials and if they are not the same with the previously used medicine or if it is a bit faded it could be sign that the drug is counterfeit.
Atty. Legasto also advised the public to regularly check the FDA website for advisories on fake medicines noting that there are also some indications or measures posted in their website which can help determine if a medicine is fake as opposed to genuine. This can be the colour or the content of a certain drug.
Moreover, the agency also urged the public to buy medicines only from FDA licensed establishments and not from peddlers and also from websites.
“One thing that could help guide them is to buy medicines from legal establishments or those licensed by FDA. They are assured that the medicines sold there are genuine,” Atty. Legasto stressed.
“Let’s not patronize those being sold let’s say online. The rule or the law says products should only be dispensed in a licensed establishment of FDA and it is online and if it is an establishment without a pharmacy, we should know that the business establishment is conducting their business which is not in compliance with FDA rules.”