DOH, DTI warn against online sellers of drugs, food supplements

The online seller previously fooled soledad Beltran’s son to avoid buying his medicines and supplements on social media and shopping applications.

Many online shops selling vitamins, antibiotics, and other medicines are rampant during the pandemic, most without proper permits.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the online seller must have a physical or actual store and be licensed.

“Facebook marketplace is medyo nandoon nagpo-proliferate unregistered sellers na fly by night, na ‘di mo alam saan mo hahanapin later on,” said Trade Undersecretary Ruht Castelo.

Under a circular, those wishing to sell drugs and medical devices online must have a certificate of medical device notification, certificate of product registration, and license to operate.

To obtain a license to operate, a drug store must have a trained pharmacist, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

“Para alam nila ang tamang pagbibigay ng product, advice sa pasyente. Kung online po, walang pharmacist ‘yan, so sino ang magbabantay kung tama ang binibigay na gamot? May panganib din ang maling pagbigay ng gamot,” said Dr. Melissa Guerrero, head of DOH Pharmaceutical Division.

Nurse and pharmacist Renz Marion Ricafrente is one of the people who manage the pharmacy in Caloocan City.

In this pandemic, it is said that more people are using their online stores.

DOH, DTI warn against online sellers of drugs, supplements

“One of the requirements ay makapag put up ng physical store kaya nagtayo kami ng botika,” he said.

As of May 28, the DTI had received about 4,000 consumer complaints about online transactions, including the sale of drugs.

Online sellers caught selling drugs and supplements without a permit can be jailed for 5 to 15 years and fined from P5,000 to P2 million.

Meanwhile, the government is also investigating complaints of alleged of drugs used against COVID-19, specifically remdesivir.

Remdesivir is said to be sold for up to P30,000 even though the cost of importing it will not exceed P5,000 per vial.

The price is also far from the suggested retail price released by the DOH of P1,500 to P8,200.

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