Alleged distributor of fake medicines arrested in Manila
MANILA, Philippines – An alleged major distributor and supplier of fake medicines was arrested in Tondo, Manila, with P1.2 million worth of counterfeit medicines seized from him.
In a statement on Sunday, November 25, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified the suspect as Alexis Asistio, 36.
He was arrested after FDA agents and police inspected his residence, also serving as a warehouse, last October 29. A search warrant had been issued last October 22 by Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26.
Retired police chief superintendent Allen Bantolo, officer-in-charge of the FDA Regulatory Enforcement Unit, said Asistio does not have any license from the FDA, whether as a manufacturer, importer, exporter, distributor, or dealer of medicines.
The following fake medicines were seized from Asistio:
- 298 boxes of Bioflu (100 tablets per box)
- 200 boxes of Biogesic (500 tablets per box)
- 195 boxes of Alaxan FR (100 tablets per box)
- 395 boxes of Medicol Advance (100 tablets per box)
- 148 boxes of Neozep Forte (100 tablets per box)
- 48 boxes of Solmux (100 tablets per box)
- 18 boxes of Kremil-S (100 tablets per box)
- 8 boxes of Dolfenal (100 tablets per box)
- 8 boxes of Flanax Forte (250 tablets per box)
- 5 boxes of Gardan (200 tablets per box)
- 3 boxes of Imodium (200 tablets per box)
- 4 pieces of Dermovate ointment
"Asistio and his cohorts are believed to be distributing and selling these assorted fake OTC (over-the-counter) products to sari-sari and other similar small stores in and around Metro Manila at cheap prices, and offering substantial profits for the vulnerable and uninformed storeowners," Bantolo said.
According to the FDA, drug manufacturers Zuellig Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Unilab, and Pfizer confirmed that the seized medicines were indeed fake.
"The presence, proliferation, and selling of counterfeit OTC medicines in the market poses great danger and health risks to the consumers," said FDA Director General Nela Charade Puno.
"The public should be wary and vigilant against those fake OTC meds. Consumers should buy them only from reputable drug stores," she added.
Asistio now faces charges for violation of Republic Act No. 8203 or the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs.
Back in March, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a crackdown on manufacturers and sellers of fake medicines. – Rappler.com