MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has directed the Manila Police District (MPD) to crack down on those behind the production of fake medicines that endanger the lives of Filipino consumers, especially the poor who rely on cheap drugs like paracetamol.
Moreno’s directive came after operatives of the Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (SMaRT) arrested Monique Gamboa, an online seller of fake medicines that are supposedly manufactured by Unilab. SMaRT is under the leadership of Police Lt. Col. Rosalino Ibay Jr.
After a test-buy was set up by SMaRT operatives in Sta. Cruz, Manila, Gamboa yielded 18,000 tablets of Bioflu and a box of Neozep tablets amounting to P1.1 million. Criminal charges have been filed against the suspect before the City prosecutor’s office.
In a command conference held at Manila City Hall Friday evening, Moreno ordered MPD Director Leo Francisco as well as the police commanders of the 11 city police stations to go after those behind the manufacturing and selling of fake paracetamol drugs in the city.
“Etong mga tolongges, etong mga talipandas na ito na ginagahasa ‘yung kahinaan ng sitwasyon na nagbebenta ng mga fake medicine. So, General Francisco and to the men and women of Manila Police District, thank you very much sa inyo for keeping the City of Manila safe of these illegal products, illegal and harmful products. Through the effort of MPD nakuha natin ‘yung mga binebenta online,” Moreno said during the command conference.
Moreno, at the same time, appealed to the public to be wary of online sellers of medicines such as paracetamol and analgesic which are in demand right now amid the Omicron surge.
“Nanawagan ako na huwag basta-basta bumibili ng mga online na Paracetamol kasi there was a time as you all know, about two weeks ago, nagkaubusan ng Paracetamol at Vitamin C. Etong isang produkto mabilis Paracetamol, eto pineke ‘yung Bioflu nakuha na natin oh. Pag tinignan mo talaga halos hindi mo makikitang peke eh. Hindi natin alam kung ano ang laman nito. Nasampahan na ng kaso ‘yung suspect, nakalawit na nila Col. Ibay at nung team ng MPD,” Moreno said.
Despite the successful test-buy operation in Sta. Cruz, Moreno ordered the MPD officials to be observant in their respective areas and build an intelligence dossiers of suspected persons engaged in the selling of fake medicines.
“So, eto maging mapagmasid tayo sa kanya-kanyang istasyon, sa mga botika ninyo medyo agapan natin kasi syempre ‘yung may demand eh. Kailangan ng Bioflu, Paracetemol. Eto, Bioflu ang andito. Through the information of netizen, tapos further investigation for confirmation of such activities by MPD nadale natin. So, ngayon panatag tayo na nabigyan natin ng kaligtasan ‘yung mga mamamayan ng Lungsod ng Maynila kung sino man ‘yung bumibili dito. Kaya payuhan nyo na rin ‘yung inyong mga nasasakupan na huwag bumibili online. Over the counter lang eto eh,” Moreno said.
Moreno congratulated the MPD under Gen. Francisco for the arrest of Gamboa and the recovery of 18,000 fake Bioflu tablets and one box of Neozep tablets.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer said the no less than the big pharmaceutical company Unilab sought the help the Office of the City Mayor to ask for police assistance in apprehending those behind the proliferation of fake medicines under the brand names of Unilab.
“With your vigilance and efficiency in service as men and women uniformed personnel of the City of Manila, just make sure dahil ‘yung inyong mga presinto or AOR na walang ganun activities kasi nilulunok ng tao eto eh. Baka instead na gumaling mamatay pa. Kaya congratulations General Francisco. Malaking bagay to kasi ilang libong bibig ‘yan, ilang libong tao ‘yang mapeperwisyo,” Moreno said.
Moreno, meanwhile, advised the public not to buy medicine online and instead, they should go to the official website of pharmaceutical companies to ensure that what they are buying is authentic medicine.
“Ang isa sa complainant natin ‘yung kompanyang Unilab. Biro mo Paracetamol na lang pepekein pa, talipandas talaga eh. So, ‘yun lang, hindi malalaman ng tao ‘yun difference lalo ng may sakit. Ang gusto lang nun gumaling. Basta sabihan ninyo huwag bili ng bili online kung di naman rin naman trusted at official website nung mga particular na kompanya. Halibawa, etong Unilab kung may website nagbebenta sila onine pwede sila dun. O Mercury Drug online, ‘yun bumili sila doon. O kaya Southstar Drug pero ‘yung mga ganito sa online,” Moreno said.
“Pagmatyagan nyo ‘yung online baka meron sa area ninyo nagtitinda. Pigilan to, pagka-ganito try nyo imbestigahan kagad pag naka-online. So congratulations that’s 18,000. Imagine mo 18,000 na di ko rin maisip na papasukin ‘yung negosyo na sinusubo ng tao,” he added