Online selling of prescription drugs not allowed by law – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   June 10, 2019   •   2472

MANILA, Philippines – Social media have become a popular platform for online selling of almost everything – from shoes, clothes, gadgets, machines, food, even health supplements and prescription medicines.

A concerned netizen posted on social media how easy it was for her to order prescription medicines from an online store and pay the amount at any payment center.

The UNTV News Team checked on the online pharmacy which the netizen mentioned and what other prescription medicines were available for purchase.

The online pharmacy was still open but the prices of medicines were no longer posted.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), selling prescription drugs online is not allowed and may incur penalties under the law.

“Hindi pwede iyang antibiotics sa Lazada (Antibiotics are not allowed on Lazada). That is a violation of our Generics law and Cheaper Medicines Act,” noted Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“Prescription is a must. It is a requirement. You cannot have medicines, antibiotics delivered through Lazada as if it were an ordinary item.  We will file a case against Lazada if it is doing that,” Duque added.

The Department Secretary said if antibiotics would be made easily available on online shops, cases of anti-microbial resistance might soon get out of hand.

In a World Health Organization (WHO) report, seven thousand individuals die every year across the globe due to anti-microbial resistance or AMR.

AMR happens when a certain drug is no longer effective to fight or destroy microbes or parasite inside the human body due to over dosage or unprescribed intake of antibiotics.

For this reason, the DOH reminds the public to religiously follow the doctor’s prescription of a certain anti-biotics to benefit from it.

In line with this issue, the DOH will conduct its own investigation on reports about prescription drugs being sold online.

DOH confirms second polio case in Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   September 20, 2019

DOH Secretary Francisco T. Duque III signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Rotary International’s 10 Districts to heighten polio awareness and vaccination campaign in light of the reemergence of poliomyelitis in the country. (Courtesy: Department of Health)

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday confirmed a second case of polio a day after it announced the re-emergence of the disease in the country after nearly 20 years.

In a statement, the DOH said that a five-year old boy from Laguna is the second confirmed case of the highly infectious disease after his samples sent to the Japan National Institute for Infectious Diseases tested positive for polio virus.

The department said the latest case was reported to be from an immunocompromised child who is suffering from multiple pediatric diseases.

The boy experienced the onset of paralysis last August 25. He has discharged from the hospital and is able to walk. He is closely being monitored for residual symptoms. 

On Thursday, the DOH confirmed that the first case of polio was a three-year old girl from Lanao del Sur.

Poliovirus was detected in water sewage samples taken from Manila and Davao during a regular environmental surveillance.

Its re-emergence in two different locations has prompted officials to declare a polio outbreak.

The DOH said there is no cure for polio and it can only be prevented with multiple doses of polio vaccines that have long been proven safe and effective.

“We continue to urge parents and caregivers of children below five years old, health workers, and local chief executives to take part in the synchronized polio vaccination to be scheduled in their communities,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was quoted saying in the statement.

He added that this is the only way to stop the spread of this debilitating, and sometimes fatal, disease.

The health chief earlier said that the government is set to launch a series of synchronized oral polio immunization program for children under the age of five in areas at risk beginning October.

The department will also work with partners to strengthen environmental and Acute Flaccid Paralysis surveillance throughout the country to detect poliovirus.

“We are also reiterating our advisory to the public to practice good personal hygiene, wash their hands regularly, to use toilets, drink safe water, and to cook food thoroughly,” he said.

PDEA probes online shop for selling ‘tooters’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 19, 2019

PASIG CITY, Philippines – Drug operatives discovered that some drug paraphernalia could be easily bought through online shops.

On Thursday (September 19), agents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) seized over P600,000 worth of illegal drugs in two separate buy-bust operations in Pasig and Quezon City.

Juan Carlos Reyes Antonio, a licensed pharmacist, was caught in possession of suspected marijuana and ecstasy tablets along with other drug paraphernalia inside a hotel in Pasig City around 2:30 AM on Thursday (September 19).

The illegal drugs were valued at P483,000.

Meanwhile, another suspect Nilo Manipon Ramirez Jr., a registered nurse, was nabbed at around 4:20AM along Kamuning Road in Quezon City.

Ramirez was caught in possession of P142,000-worth of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia.

Antonio bought his ‘tooters’ through an online shop.

“Dalawang transaksyon. Either iyong kliyente [ang] pumupunta sa hotel at doon na sila nagja-jamming or they just buy online (Two possibilities. Either the client goes to the hotel where they jam or they just buy online). explained PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.

The official assured to subject the said shop to an investigation before they act on the matter.

Aquino noted that it is prohibited to sell ‘tooters’ may it be in stores or online because it is an item being used solely in illegal drugs.

“I’ll just wait for their explanation first and then kung ano’t-ano man ang kalalabasan (whatever comes out of the investigation) then we will file a case against them,” Aquino said.

A delivery company is currently being investigated by PDEA on reports that it caters delivery of illegal drugs. — MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

FDA orders DOH-controlled hospitals to report vape-related injuries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 11, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Department of Health (DOH)-controlled hospitals to report cases that are related to using vape.

This was after health officials in the United Stated confirmed on Tuesday (September 10) that a 50-year-old man died of lung disease linked to vape use.

According to Dr. Anton Javier, project manager of Product Research and Standards Development Division Center for Cosmetics in the FDA, they might not monitor any illnesses related to using vape just yet because of the latency period.

“Because of the latency period nga po baka po wala pa tayo makita just yet. Pwede po kasing nagve-vape ka ngayon pero iyong mga magiging sakit niyo down the line pa, (Because of the latency period, we might not see [incidence] just yet. You can actually use vape now but your illness might appear down the line)” he said.

However, an expert said the confirmed case in the United States should not be a cause of alarm.

“It’s been well proven by laboratories in the US that deaths in Kansas whatever it is, has got nothing to do with e-cigarettes its what these people has put in e cigarettes that contains adulterated contaminants of cannabis,” according to Harm Reduction Expert Dr. Tikki Pang.

The FDA had previously released a regulation on using vape or e-cigarettes. Manufacturers or retailers were given until October 25 to register their products to the FDA.

The FDA has also warned against the dangers of the chemicals found in vape products. This include cynemaldehide which causes blockage in the lungs which can lead to difficulty in breathing.

Another dangerous chemical, according to the FDA, is diacetyl which causes bronchylitis or inflammation of the lungs.—AAC (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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