DTI probes unlicensed sellers of COVID-19 test kits

Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2022 04:44 PM

Tricycle riders in Marikina City undergo mass testing using rapid test kits for COVID-19 on May 19, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File
Tricycle riders in Marikina City undergo mass testing using rapid test kits for COVID-19 on May 19, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Department of Trade and Industry on Monday said it is investigating unlicensed sellers and resellers of COVID-19 test kits especially those operating online.

Sales of antigen and rapid test home test kits have risen amid the recent surge in infections attributed to the omicron variant. 

Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said the DTI's Consumer Protection Group office is heading the probe. 

Sellers of home test kits are required to secure a license to distribute (LTD), and a license to operate (LTO) from the Food and Drug Administration, Castelo said.

"We’re on it especially online. A lot of them do not have the LTO/LTD," Castelo said.

The DTI, however, did not disclose more details on the probe. 

Meanwhile, a COVID-19 test kit importer and manufacturer group warned test kits are very sensitive products with an expiration date that requires special handling. 

Kits should be handled properly, otherwise they can lead to false negatives or false positive results, the group said. 

Consumers can protect themselves by asking online sellers for a copy of their LTD or LTO. They should also be vigilant in checking the expiration date of tests kits. Test kits should also be stored away from moisture, the group added.

Social media platform Facebook has also limited the sale of COVID-19 related items in its marketplace. 

Instead of displaying search results for COVID-19 items, the Facebook website brings up a prompt that says: "To help prevent untrustworthy sales related to coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve temporarily limited sales of certain items.”

On Jan. 5, the Department of Health said it is still studying the use of antigen self test kits.

RELATED VIDEO:

Watch more News on iWantTFC