Manila Mayor Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso has directed the Manila Police District (MPD) to crack down on those behind the production of fake medicines that endanger the lives of Filipino consumers, especially the poor who rely on cheap drugs like paracetamol.
Moreno’s directive came after operatives of the Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (SMaRT) arrested Monique Gamboa, an online seller of fake medicines that are supposedly manufactured by Unilab. SMaRT is under the leadership of Police Lt. Col. Rosalino Ibay Jr.
After a test-buy was set up by SMaRT operatives in Sta. Cruz, Manila, Gamboa yielded 18,000 tablets of Bioflu and a box of Neozep tablets amounting to P1.1 million. Criminal charges have been filed against the suspect before the City prosecutor’s office.
In a command conference held at Manila City Hall Friday evening, Moreno ordered MPD Director Leo Francisco as well as the police commanders of the 11 city police stations to go after those behind the manufacturing and selling of fake paracetamol drugs in the city.
“These `tolongges’, these perverts who are raping the weakness of the situation are selling fake medicines. So, General Francisco and to the men and women of Manila Police District, thank you very much to you for keeping the City of Manila safe of these illegal products, illegal and harmful products. Through the effort of MPD we got them for sale online,” Moreno said during the command conference.
Moreno also appealed to the public to be wary of online sellers of medicines such as paracetamol and analgesic which are in demand right now amid the Omicron surge.
“I called on you not to just buy paracetamol online because there was a time as you all know, about two weeks ago, we ran out of paracetamol and vitamin C. This is a fast paracetamol product, here is the fake Bioflu we got oh. When you really look at it, you can hardly see a fake. We do not know what its contents are. The case has already been filed against the suspect, they have already been caught by Col. Ibay and the MPD team,” Moreno said.
Despite the successful test-buy operation in Sta. Cruz, Moreno ordered the MPD officials to be observant in their respective areas and build an intelligence dossier of suspected persons engaged in the selling of fake medicines.
“So, let’s be observant at each station, in your pharmacies, we are a bit alert because of course there are those who are in demand. Needs Bioflu, Paracetemol. Here, Bioflu is here. Through the information of netizens, we have completed further investigation for confirmation of such activities by MPD. So, now we are confident that we have given safety to the people of the City of Manila whoever buys here. So advise your constituents not to buy online. It’s just over the counter,” Moreno said.
Moreno congratulated the MPD under Gen. Francisco for the arrest of Gamboa and the recovery of 18,000 fake Bioflu tablets and Neozep tablets.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer said pharmaceutical company Unilab sought the help of the Office of the City Mayor to ask for police assistance in apprehending those behind the proliferation of fake medicines under the brand names of Unilab.
“With your vigilance and efficiency in service as men and women uniformed personnel of the City of Manila, just make sure your precincts or AORs don’t have such activities because people are swallowing it. Maybe instead of being healed, people ended up dead. So congratulations General Francisco. It’s a big thing because a few thousand mouths, a few thousand people will be harmed,” Moreno said.
Moreno, meanwhile, advised the public not to buy medicine online, and instead, they should go to the official website of pharmaceutical companies to ensure that what they are buying is authentic medicine.
“One of our complainants is the company Unilab. You’re kidding, Paracetamol is just fake, it’s really lewd. So, that’s all, people won’t know the difference, especially when they are sick. All I want is to be healed. Just tell them not to buy online if the particular companies’ websites are not trusted and official. For example, Unilab, if they have a website that sells online, they can go there. Or Mercury Drug online, ‘cause they buy there. Or Southstar Drug but ‘those like this online,” Moreno said.
“Keep an eye on the online, maybe there are sellers in your area. Stop it, then try to investigate as soon as you are online. So congratulations for that 18,000. Imagine 18,000, that I can’t even imagine getting into the business that people are consuming,” he added.