The Department of Health is putting up an electronic monitoring system in pharmacies to detect if they are purchasing medicines from unauthorized dealers, Delia Tarrosa, chief of the Licensing, Regulations and Enforcement Division of the Department of Health in Region 6, said yesterday.
Tarrosa, however, admitted that it is indeed difficult to identify the counterfeit medicines from the authentic ones.
She said that even the DOH cannot identify counterfeit medicines at first glance and needs to scrutinize or subject them to laboratory tests to verify their authenticity.
With the installation of the electronic monitoring systems at the pharmacies, the DOH will have the rundown of the transactions made by the establishment from their suppliers and if the suppliers are unauthorized, their names will not appear in the system, Tarrosa said.
Aside from monitoring if the pharmacies are purchasing medicines from unauthorized suppliers, the monitoring system will also enable customers to look at available medicines and their prices, Tarrosa added.
She also told ABS-CBN that they are now conducting a training for pharmacists employees from 700 pharmacies in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City at the Nature’s Restaurant in Talisay City on how to use the monitoring system of the DOH.
Pharmacy owners who refuse the installation of the monitoring system at their establishment will have their business licenses revoked by the DOH.
Tarrosa called on pharmacies to refrain from purchasing medicines from unauthorized dealers as not to put the health of the consuming public in jeopardy.
On Thursday, National Bureau of Investigation agents seized boxes of alleged counterfeit medicines from seven branches of the Sincere Drug Store and at their storage facility in Bacolod City.
The raids were conducted on the strength of a search warrant issued by Executive Judge Amor Reyes of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Region Branch 21, Monsanto said.
The raids were held at the Sincere Drug Store Burgos, Libertad, Dela Rama Center, Gatuslao, Centroplex and Gonzaga branches and at the warehouse of the supplier in Purok Dawis in Brgy. 14, Monsanto said.
Among the medicines they seized were Alaxan, Biogesic, Aspilets, Sulmux, Diatabs and Insulin, NBI head Jose Ermie Monsanto said.
But Ricky Enriquez, owner of the Sincere chain of drug stores, yesterday called the raid “harassment and unfair”. He said he is meeting with his lawyers to discuss the filing of a possible case against the raiding team.
Enriquez said 117 boxes of medicines were taken from his stores. He maintained that his medicines came from legitimate suppliers and were not counterfeit as claimed.*APN