The Bureau of Customs seized P30 million worth of counterfeit medicines on Jan 5
Counterfeit Biogesic, Neozep, Bioflu, Immunpro, Ivermectin, Phenokinon F Injection, Medicol, Planax, Alaxan FR and MX3 were found in 2 storage areas in Paranaque City
A 31-year-old Pakistani national was apprehended
The seizure comes amid the public’s difficulty accessing over-the-counter medicines following the rising cases in COVID-19 infection and the regular flu season
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) along with other government agencies seized P30 million worth of counterfeit medicines on January 5, 2022.
The seizure of counterfeit Biogesic, Neozep, Bioflu, Immunpro, Ivermectin, Phenokinon F Injection, Medicol, Planax, Alaxan FR and MX3, among others, comes amid the public’s difficulty accessing over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol following the rising cases in COVID-19 infection and the flu season.
A certification from the Food and Drug Administration as well as Unilab Pharmaceuticals, the maker of paracetamol brand Biogesic, noted the medicines were counterfeit, according to a BOC statement.
The fake drugs were packed in cartons with tags that have Chinese characters. They were found in two storage areas: 7434B and 7434C Highland St., Marcelo Green Village and 27 Pearl St., Severina Subdivision, Km 18, Brgy. Marcelo, both in Paranaque City.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Intelligence Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were part of the operation.
The team composed of members of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service at the Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP), PDEA-IIS, NICA, ISAFP and the PCG, apprehended the suspect, Adel Rajput, a Pakistani national, 31 years old, and a resident of Caloocan City.
He was brought to the Paranaque City Prosecutors’ Office for an inquest and will face various cases for violation of Sec. 1401 (Unlawful Importation/Exportation), Sec. 1113 (Property Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture) paragraph (l) (5) in relation to Sec. 118 (Prohibited Importation and Exportation) paragraph (e) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, and violation of Republic Act No. 8293 (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines and its Pertinent Rules and Regulations). Rajput’s visa will be revoked by the Bureau of Immigration.
Alvin Enciso, Intelligence Officer II and Chief of the CIIS-MICP, led the implementation of the Letter of Authority together with the Mission Order signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero.
“We received reports about the presence of counterfeit items. It’s not just items, but medicines. We acted on this immediately because this can pose a health threat. They are selling these to unsuspecting people whose only hope is to buy authentic medicines for themselves and their loved ones,” said Raniel Ramiro, Customs Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence Group.
The goods were immediately hauled to the BOC premises, although inspection and inventory are ongoing.
Last November 24, 2021, BOC also seized an estimated P50 million worth of fake Alaxan, Tuseran Forte, Propan and Diatabs from a warehouse in Pasig City.
“It is sad how these criminals are using the pandemic for their own gain, especially when it comes to medicines. These are medicines that people thought will relieve them of their pain, their conditions. It is unforgivable that these individuals are using people’s desperation to earn money,” Commissioner Guerrero said.