Philippines survey exposes illegal medicine problem

Awareness raising posterA survey of medicines sold in the Philippines has revealed alarmingly high levels of illegal products, according to the country's Department of Health.

All told, the survey found that 81 per cent of the 546 products analysed has not been registered by the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA), of which 13 per cent were diverted products intended for sale in other markets and 6 per cent were counterfeit.

The announcement of the survey results has been made at a press conference to mark the start of the Philippines' National Consciousness Week against Counterfeit Medicines, which will include a public awareness campaign, including information posters (pictured).

The Philippines pharma market is valued at around $3.3bn a year, according to data from BMI Research. Year-to-date, the FDA has seized PHP 5.9m (around $125,000) worth of illicit medicines, says a report in the Sun Star newspaper.

The FDA indicated that most of the counterfeit medicines are imported from India, Pakistan, and China, according to the article.

Prominent examples of counterfeit medicines encountered in the Philippines' marketplace in recent months include fake versions of AbbVie's Klaricid (clarithromycin) antibiotic, Roche's red blood cell stimulator Recormon (epoetin beta) and various vaccine products.

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