Belo group denies its pharmacy was closed
(UPDATED) The Food and Drug Administration on Monday ordered padlocked the Belo Medical Clinic pharmacy in Muntinlupa for allegedly refusing a government inspection and for selling 11 cosmetic/drug products not registered with the FDA last Feb. 9.
A notice posted outside the Belo Medical Group pharmacy stated the pharmacy on West Gate Alabang Muntinlupa City branch "is hereby ordered closed and to cease and desist in conducting its business activity" for violating Section 11(c) of Republic Act No. 3720 or the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
Belo Medical Group, in a statement, denied that its pharmacy was shut down.
"We would like to clarify that it is not accurate that the pharmacy of Belo Alabang clinic was closed. FDA personnel served Summons in our Alabang Clinic, which contains an order to close the clinic's pharmacy. However, our Alabang clinic fully cooperated and allowed the inspection of the pharmacy," John Eric Ho, Belo Medical Group corporate communications head, said.
"Furthermore, the FDA upon inspection, found no presence of the products in question and therefore DID NOT PADLOCK the clinic as opposed to what was recently inaccurately reported," he added.
"We reiterate that we understand and support the FDA's mandate and we have undertaken all necessary steps to comply," Ho said.
The company also questioned the presence of the media during FDA's inspection, saying it was "unnecessary and highly irregular."
"However, we would like to express our concern as to how these inspections have been conducted with the presence of the press. We feel that this is unnecessary and highly irregular," Ho added.
On Feb. 9, the FDA ordered the Belo Medical Group to stop selling some of its products after these were discovered to be unregistered with the regulator.
The agency took took this step after the company's clinic in Alabang, Muntinlupa allegedly sold mislabeled cosmetic products and unregistered drug products.
A surveillance video of a second test-buy operation conducted by FDA operatives showed a cashier of the clinic getting a product worth P22,000 from the pharmacy.
The FDA had ordered Belo Medical Group to immediately stop selling the following products:
-ZO Medical by Zein Obagi;
-MD Glycogent Exfoliation Accelerator 10% concentration;
-ZO Medical by Zein Obagi Foamacleanse Gentle Foaming Cleanser for all types;
-ZO Medical by Zein Obagi Oclipse Sunscreen/Primer SPF 30 Protection;
-Belo Illuminating Cream Alpha Arbutin+Liquorice;
-Belo Prescriptives Keralyt 2 Cream;
- ZO Medical by Zein ObagiMD Melamix Skin Lightener & Blending Creme Hydroquinone USP 4%;
-ZO Medical by Zein Obagi MD Melanin Skin Bleaching & Correcting Creme Hydroquinone USP 4%;
-Belo Prescriptives Acne Astringent;
-Belo Prescriptives Belo White;
-Belo Prescriptives DLC Peeling Creme;
-ZO Medical by Zein Obagi MD Cebatrol.
The FDA said 11 drugs and cosmetic items they bought from Belo were not registered with them.
"Hindi dumaan sa registration process ng FDA, so ang ibig sabihin nun, kung hindi siya authorized, hihintayin niya dapat na dumaan doon sa proseso ng FDA, that they will be allowed to sell," retired Gen. Allen Bantolo, chief of the FDA Regulatory Enforcement Unit, said after the test-buy.
Bantolo said all drugs and cosmetic products should undergo certification from the FDA to ensure that these are safe for public use.