MANILA - An importer of health-care products is being investigated for the shipment of 20,000 undeclared ivermectin tablets seized at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Bureau of Customs said Friday.
Finstad Inc. could be charged with violating Republic Act 9711 or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009 for the importation of an unregistered drug, BOC spokesperson and assistant commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said.
Smuggling charges could also be filed against the company, he added. Finstad Inc has yet to respond on the issue.
"Itong Finstad, first time namin na nahulihan sila ng misdeclared items. Dati naman nae-examine namin 'yong ibang shipment nila. Mukha naman kung ano ang idineklara nila 'yon ang pinaparating," Maronilla said.
(It's our first time to caught Finstad of having misdeclared items. We have examined their shipments before. It looked like what products they have declared, it's the same ones that arrived.)
"Mukhang napakalaki lang siguro ng order or demand dito sa ivermectin kaya nagawa nilang i-misdeclare itong klase ng gamot na ito."
(Maybe, the order or demand for ivermectin is huge that prompted them to misdeclare this kind of drug.)
The BOC has previously confiscated small portions of human-grade ivermectin when the anti-parasitic drug was touted as possible treatment to COVID-19. Most of them reportedly came from India.
To date, registered oral and intravenous preparations of ivermectin in the country were veterinary products.
They were approved for use in animals for the prevention of heartworm disease and treatment of internal and external parasites in certain animal species.
Meanwhile, registered ivermectin products for human use were in topical formulations under prescription use only. This is used for the treatment of external parasites, such as head lice, and skin conditions, such as rosacea.