Press Release
July 3, 2015


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is set to file on Monday a bill creating a task force against fake medicines following reports on the continuous proliferation of counterfeit drugs in the country despite existing laws.

Santiago, a former trial court judge, explained that weak coordination among government agencies negatively impact the enforcement of Republic Act No. 8203, also known as the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs.

"The growth of electronic commerce, proliferation of multi-level marketing corporations, and our increasing participation in international trade have dramatically expanded the market for counterfeit drugs. Our government agencies must be equal to the task," the senator said.

She cited the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which reportedly said that from January to October 2014, the government confiscated some 500 counterfeit drugs manufactured abroad but were sold in the Philippine market.

Santiago will also file a resolution calling for a Senate inquiry, in aid of legislation, on a recently raided call center in the Clark Special Economic Zone that has reportedly been selling counterfeit medicine online.

"What is bothersome is that no arrests have been made despite the evidence recovered. We must use the full force of the law. Counterfeit drugs pose a risk to public health and could erode public confidence in the health industry," the senator said.

Citing the World Health Organization, she claimed that most counterfeit drugs are not equivalent in quality, safety, and efficacy to their genuine counterparts and that even those that are of correct quality or contain the correct amount of active substance are dangerous.

"Their production and distribution are not within the purview of the FDA, which means that any associated defects and adverse reactions will not be easily recognized or monitored and, if needed, an effective product recall would not be possible," Santiago's resolution added.

Santiago was diagnosed with cancer, stage four, a year ago. She is on medical leave from the Senate, but filed 1,324 bills and resolutions, the highest among senators, since the start of the 16th Congress in June 2013 until it adjourned sine die in May.

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