PROMDI presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao rejected Sunday proposals to ban small community stores, also known as sari-sari stores, from selling over-the-counter drugs since not everyone had access to the medicines they need.
Responding to the call of the Department of Interior Local Government for local government units to restrict sari-sari stores from selling over-the-counter medicines without any permit, Pacquiao said this was anti-poor and very impractical for rural folks.
He said this was also an added burden for small store owners who still had to pay to secure permits.
“Sari-sari stores are the most accessible source of medicines needed for ordinary ailments like flu, influenza, diarrhea or stomach ache, and body pains,” he said.
Over-the-counter medicines which are also known as nonprescription medicines are medicines that you can buy without a prescription. They are safe and effective for ordinary ailments.
“Let us consider that not all are near drug stores. In other places, a drugstore is maybe 10 kilometers away, and not open 24 hours,” he said.
He added that not all had vehicles to go to town to buy medicines, especially during nighttime.
The former boxer-turned-legislator said regulation and an effective crackdown against smuggling should solve concerns about the allegedproliferation of fake medicines.
As a minimum requirement, Pacquiao said sari-sari stores could be required to submit a list of drugs they were selling to their barangays to allow proper monitoring.
Pacquiao said that the government should crack down against the smuggling of counterfeit medicines and government officials who are protecting these smugglers must be immediately arrested.