Mandaue City Council approves ordinance regulating over-the-counter medicine sales in sari-sari stores

THE legislation aiming to regulate the dispensing, selling and reselling of pharmaceutical products in sari-sari stores and other similar outlets in Mandaue City has been approved on third and final reading.

It only needs the signature of Mayor Jonas Cortes for it to be implemented in the city.

The ordinance was approved during the City Council’s regular session last Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, according to one of its authors, Councilor Joel Seno.

Seno said he co-authored the ordinance with Councilor Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, who chairs the committee on health.

Soon-Ruiz mentioned earlier that the measure seeks to ensure non-pharmaceutical stores will not be selling fake over-the-counter antibiotic medicines.

She also said many people often self-medicate and take over-the-counter antibiotics, which she said may even cause more harm than good if taken without a proper prescription.

The councilor, however, reiterated that the ordinance does not directly suspend the sale of medicines in retail stores but it sets up guidelines to monitor them.

According to Seno, sari-sari stores and other similar retail outlets and micro-enterprises are allowed to sell medicines such as paracetamol, loperamide, ibuprofen and carbocisteine, except for over-the-counter medicines that require a prescription and those that can be obtained through licensed pharmacists.

Section 30 of Republic Act 10918, otherwise known as the Philippine Pharmacy Act, states that no pharmaceutical product of whatever nature and kind shall be compounded, dispensed, sold or resold, or otherwise be made available to the consuming public, except through a retail drug outlet duly licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Exceptions may be made in emergency cases, which refer to life-threatening situations where a patient needs immediate medical attention and treatment, and the services of a pharmacist are not available, the law states.

As for the Mandaue ordinance, it mandates the City Health Office to create a task force to monitor the non-pharmaceutical stores that sell medicines.

The barangays will also be tasked to assist the City Government by conducting information, education and communication drives for store owners. They must also regulate the barangay permits and report any violators to the City Government or police.

Retail stores caught selling fake drugs will pay a fine ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 and suffer imprisonment of six months to one year pursuant to Section 45 of Republic Act 10918.

The same penalty applies to retail stores selling genuine prescription drugs without permit from the FDA, the legislation stated.