Want to know if the food, drugs you buy are safe, legit?

by Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 24 2013 11:22 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2013 07:22 AM

MANILA - Many people buy in tiangges, mom-and-pop stores, or bazaars without really knowing if the food or product they’re buying is legitimate and safe.

To help consumers deal with this problem, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines has re-launched its website, www.fda.gov.ph.

“Since all the products and establishments registered with FDA are available online, there is assurance that this list contains only those that are properly registered and would therefore improve the public confidence in the agency,” FDA Director General Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go said.

Under the “Consumers’ Corner," registered products are listed. Registration means that the product – whether food, medicine, cosmetic products, etc – have passed all the requirements set by the FDA.

“Health professionals can now verify if products, such as food supplements and herbal products, used by self-medicating patients are registered with the FDA. Such information can be used as a cross reference to PIMS/MIMS and other formularies in cases of adverse drug reaction or adverse event,” Hartigan-Go noted.

A complaint and comment section has also been added for consumers. The eReport facility on the website will be used to file comments, questions, and suggestions to the agency.

The website is also now connected to social networking sites, he said. It is currently integrated with Facebook under “Food and Drug Administration Philippines.”

Payment collection

Under the “Industry Corner,” Hartigan-Go said, “it is now possible for companies to check for any duplication of brand names, thus, avoiding problems on encroaching on the intellectual property rights of others and sparing the trouble of long review on applications for brand name clearance.”

He also noted the FDA recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Land Bank of the Philippines for a collection of payment system where the industries can pay for the registration of their products.

He said the status of the applications of the firms can soon be seen in the website as well.

“This will certainly lessen face-to-face inquiries and transactions, which in turn would support work efficiency for both parties. This would allow the FDA more time for accomplishing assigned tasks and delivering direct services to FDA clients,” he said.

He said the FDA will also integrate soon a reference check if a drug prescribed by a physician can be reimbursed from PhilHealth.