FDA strengthens ‘regulatory muscle’ vs fake products

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ramps up its regulatory muscle to fight fake products.

“Noteworthy is the strengthening of FDA’s regulatory enforcement capabilities that received a boost with its partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Task Force D-PUNCH which stands for Destroy Products Unfit for the Consumption of Humans,” said FDA Director General Nela Charade G. Puno.

Puno said FDA and the PNP are one in the goal to minimize, if not eradicate counterfeit, unregistered, adulterated and misbranded health products in the market that pose danger to life, health and safety of the public.

According to FDA, since August 2016 to mid August of this year, its Regulatory Enforcement Unit (REU) has seized over P4.3 million worth of unregistered and fake drugs and medicines, cosmetics, medical devices and violative hazardous urban household substances products.

Likewise, FDA’s REU has provided service of legal orders such as Summons and Cease and Desist Orders, surveillance/investigation, assistance to FDA regional field offices and other law enforcement agencies, the Department of Health, and Service of Search Warrants.

It has also padlocked some 29 establishments that are operating without license and selling products without the required certificates of product registration.

As a result of Joint Entrapment Operations and Implementation of Search Warrant with the PNP-CIDG in Region 4A and NCR, the FDA has seized and confiscated violative HUHS products confiscated in Rizal and Manila.

The total number of suspects arrested in the joint Entrapment Operation with PNP CIDG is 13, with Criminal Cases referred to the Prosecutors Office.

Meanwhile, Puno assured to strike a balance between the protection of consumer safety and supporting ease of doing business with partners in the industries that FDA regulates.

“We will accomplish this while following President Duterte’s three marching orders of zero backlog, 72 hours turnaround time and strengthened enforcement,” Puno said.

FDA has already posted a 33 percent reduction in all accounted backlogs as of July 31, 2017.

Mechanisms are also being put in place to ensure 72-hour turnaround time in response to inquiries, requests and other transactions in the FDA.

“We are committed to reduce our backlogs in applications for license to operate, Certificate of Product Registration and legal decisions by 90 percent by the end of this year,” Puno said.

FDA is developing IT innovations for the benefit of the public and stakeholders. A mobile application will soon be available that will allow the public to check the status of food, medicines, cosmetics, medical devices and health products.

“We will undertake organizational reform and development. Strengthen our inspection and enforcement actions. Upgrade our facilities and tools. Improve our policies by creating and implementing smart regulations. Strengthen our public information delivery and services,” the FDA chief added.