Counterfeit medicines seized from Tondo warehouse

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2018 10:38 PM

MANILA - A warehouse filled with counterfeit medicines was raided by joint forces of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulatory Enforcement Unit (REU) and the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes in Orion Street, Tondo, Manila on Monday evening. 

The FDA identified the owner of the house and the subject of the search warrant as Alex Asistio.

According to FDA Chief of Regulatory Enforcement Unit retired Gen. Allen Bantolo, they received information and conducted surveillance for a year.

"Almost a year, na-case buildup natin sa nagdi-distribute ng counterfeit na gamot. Nahihirapan na matunton kase palipat-lipat sila ng lugar," Bantolo said.

The FDA first conducted a test-buy operation.

"May mga complainant tayo dito sa kumakalat na gamot at nagbebenta ng counterfeit," Bantolo said.

According to Atty. Guillermo Dalipog of the FDA-REU, the fake medicines were tablets and capsules manufactured by big pharmaceutical companies and are often prescribed for fever, coughs, colds, and pain relief. 

“Ito ay mga pinekeng gamot na gawa ng pharmaceutical companies tulad ng Unilab, Sanofi, Pfizer,” Dalipog said.

Asistio, the suspect, refused to comment. 

The FDA said the house was used as a stockroom for the counterfeit medicine. 

“Ginagawang stockroom lang, may source siya at pinagdadalhan, aalamin natin," Dalipog said.

FDA said the fake medicines do not cure people. 

“Lumala ang karamdaman o malason, at mas malala ang penalty sa ilalim ng ating batas,” Dalipog said.

The suspect will be charged with violation of Republic Act 8203 or the Special Law in Counterfeit Drugs which imposes imprisonment of 10 years.