Loren wants out as endorser of Lucida-DS


Posted at Jul 17 2008 10:52 AM | Updated as of Jul 17 2008 06:52 PM

After the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) ordered the pullout of several batches of three glutathione supplements out of the market, Sen. Loren Legarda is pulling out as an endorser of one of the affected products.

Legarda said in a statement Wednesday that as a consumer welfare advocate, she is against any form of public deception.

Thus, based on the BFAD findings that specific batches of the product she endorses - Lucida-DS/Glutathione 500 mg - do not have the amount of glutathione it purportedly has, along with Glutalife dietary supplement and Vaniderm/Dietary Supplement, she wants out of the endorsement.

"As an advocate of consumer welfare and protection, Legarda declared that she will not tolerate misrepresentation of facts by any importer, distributor or manufacturer of consumer products that tend to deceive the consumer," according to a statement issued by Legarda's office.

In the same statement, Legarda also "formally demanded" the company to "dismantle within 24 hours all the billboards which purportedly show her as product endorser of Lucida-DS," and is asking United Shelter Health Products, the Philippine distributor of both Lucida-DS and Vaniderm, to "explain to the public the adverse findings of the BFAD against Lucida-DS."

United Shelter Products said that its contract with the senator will end this week.

Company officials maintained, however, that their products all contained the correct amount of glutathione, based on the laboratory test results from Adamson University and Anaheim Laboratories in the United States.

Based on the Adamson and Anaheim Labs tests, both Lucida DS and Vaniderm have around 500 mg of glutathione in their products, and not a mere 6.8 mg based on the BFAD tests.

They also said they will pursue a case against ABS-CBN Chief Correspondent Korina Sanchez - and possibly also against the broadcasting network - for allegedly reporting wrong information about their products, which is causing the company to lose profits.

ABS-CBN maintained however that it is their duty to report the laboratory test results from the Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (PIPAC) that stated the whitening supplements contained amounts of glutathione that were way below the amounts stated on their labels.

The BFAD, despite appeals from United Shelter Products, is standing by its findings and is asking the distributor to submit a recall strategy within 30 days.

BFAD: Tests on other batches underway

On Monday, BFAD Director Leticia Barbara Gutierrez told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda that they are also not sure if other manufactured products of the three recalled brands have glutathione content below the ideal level.

She said hundreds of samples of the other batches of the three glutathione products have been taken and were undergoing tests at the BFAD clinic.

She added that another advisory will be issued if the other batches fail the tests.

Gutierrez, meanwhile, said the banned batches have been recalled by the manufacturers, as reported to her by BFAD inspectors.

The BFAD on Friday ordered all importers and distributors to recall "specified batch/lot" numbers of the three brands "for containing less than the amount of Glutathione they purport to possess."

"In the interest of public welfare and public protection from deceptive sales and practices," DOH-BFAD Health Advisory No. 2008-006 said it is warning and advising all concerned that the agency has directed the importers and distributors of Glutalife, Vaniderm and Lucida-DS to "immediately recall" specified batch or lot numbers of the products.

The product batches being recalled are Glutalife with Batch No. 20078019; Lucida-DS with Lot. No. 168015L, and Vaniderm with Lot. No. 168015V.

"The respective importers/distributors were directed to immediately establish or present evidences to the [BFAD] assuring that the other batches of the product in question contain the amount of glutathione they purport to possess," the order said.

"Accordingly, all concerned parties are hereby enjoined to refrain from distributing and selling the above-identified batches of the said products," the advisory added.

A few weeks earlier, ABS-CBN News reported the findings of the PIPAC that showed some known glutathione products have less contents of the whitening drug.

Glutathione is a drug used to protect cells from toxins. It is also used by beauty enthusiasts as a skin whitening supplement. -- With a report from Cecille Lardizabal, ABS-CBN News