P30M worth of fake Biogesic, other meds seized; suspect arrested

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THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized P30 million worth of counterfeit medicines including Biogesic, Neozep, Bioflu and Ivermectin, and arrested a suspect over the stash.

In a statement Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, the BOC said the medicines were found in two storages in Parañaque City last Jan. 5.

“Packed in cartons with tags of Chinese characters,” the fake medicines were found in P7434B and 7434C Highland St., Marcelo Green Village and 27 Pearl St., Severina Subdivision, Km 18, Brgy. Marcelo, the BOC said.

Also seized there were other counterfeit medicines including those labeled as Immunpro, Phenokinon F Injection, Medicol, Planax, Alaxan FR and MX3.

“Certification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Unilab Pharmaceuticals, the makers of market-leading paracetamol brand Biogesic, stated that the said medicines were counterfeit,” the BOC said.

Pakistani national Adel Rajput, 31, a resident of Caloocan City, was arrested by the team also composed of elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Intelligence Service Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Rajput has been brought to the Parañaque City Prosecutors' Office for an inquest.

He faces cases for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (Sec. 1401 Unlawful Importation/Exportation and Sec. 1113 Property Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture in relation to prohibited importation and exportation) and violation of Republic Act 8293, known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

The seizure comes amid the surge in demand for over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol, as the Philippines struggles to contain a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases believed to be fueled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Paracetamol is used to treat fever and mild to moderate pain from headaches and colds, which are common symptoms of both Covid-19 and the flu.

On Tuesday, Jan. 11, the National Government set a purchase cap for paracetamol and other flu medicines following reported stock-out issues as the Covid-19 surge coincides with the peak of the flu season.

On the same day, the country topped three million Covid-19 cases after it reported 28,007 new infections, the third highest single-daily tally since the pandemic began in 2020.

Less than two months ago, on Nov. 24, the BOC seized a bigger stash of fake medicines from a warehouse in Pasig City.

The fake medicines, worth an estimated P50 million, included Alaxan, Tuseran Forte, Propan and Diatabs, the BOC said. (CTL, PR)

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