MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police to arrest those behind the spread of fake medicines in the market, his chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said.
Duterte issued the order after the Food and Drug Administration warned the public about the proliferation of fake 500 mg Paracetamol Biogesic in the market.
Panelo said Duterte wants those behind the counterfeiting of medicines to be charged with economic sabotage, noting a 2011 study that drugs and medicines account for 46 percent of total medical out-of-pocket expenses of Philippine households.
"Substandard and falsified medicines have become a global pandemic, impacting the safety of patients around the world,” he said.
"The purchase and use of the fake medicines, including fake paracetamol, poses potential danger and injury to consumers."
Panelo said the filing of economic sabotage charges is in order because of the potentially huge revenue losses for the government.
He said the spread of fake drugs undermines the national economy and also threatens national security by endangering the health of a vast majority of the people.