DILG defends crackdown on sari-sari stores selling meds

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2022 08:32 PM

MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday defended its decision to go after small community stores selling medicine, saying that they are simply implementing the law.

Under the Philippine Pharmacy Act, a special license must be obtained from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before an establishment can sell medical products, said Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the DILG.

"We don't make the law, we don't make the policy, we just enforce it," he told state television PTV.

"'Yung mga pros and cons ng issue na ito, kailangan dumaan sa proseso... kailangan dumaan sa ganoong klaseng pagsusuri ng Kongreso kung babaguhin ito," he said.

(The pros and cons of this issue needs to pass a process... It has to undergo the scrutiny of Congress if they want this to be changed.)

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The FDA earlier sought the help of the national government to stop small stores from selling over-the-counter drugs, saying some establishments may be carrying counterfeit medicine.

Local governments can also pass ordinances "that conforms with the Philippine Pharmacy Act" to make community drugstores more functional, Malaya said.

But as of now, the DILG is "duty bound to enforce" the current law, he said.

Store owners who will be convicted of the illegal sale of medicine will have to pay a fine between P100,000 and P200,000 or face imprisonment between 30 days and 1 year, he said.

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