FDA backs NGO in war vs. fake cosmetics


Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently expressed support for the call made by a non-government organization (NGO) for an all-out campaign against fake and counterfeit cosmetic products in the local market.

In a statement, FDA Director-General Nela Charade Puno cited the Ecowaste Coalition for “underscoring the need for strong collaboration between government and the civic sector in the war against fake and counterfeit products”.

The NGO recently called on candidates for the Senate and Congress to craft laws that will strengthen the fight against “adulterated and counterfeit cosmetic products”.

The Ecowaste Coalition lauded the gains of the FDA in the campaign against these products. The group added that the FDA has ”made considerable efforts the illegal sale of mercury-contaminated cosmetics such as skin lightening or whitening facial creams”.

The group, however, pointed out that prevailing laws “are not sufficient to stop the sale of these dangerous products”.

Puno said the FDA has continued to step up its law enforcement operations, notching a total of an estimated P114 million worth of unregistered medicines, cosmetics, food and medical products from 2018 to March of this year.

This was accomplished “despite limited resources. ”, she pointed out.

Puno noted that the FDA Regulatory Enforcement Unit (REU) has increased its efforts by 500 percent from 2017 as of the end of last year.

“This has resulted in the seizure of illegal products amounting to hundreds of million as of the end of the first quarter of 2019” Puno said.

A total of 3,183 legal Orders were served last year with about 500 orders already served just in the 1st quarter of 2019 alone.

The FDA has seized a total of almost 9 million verified Counterfeit Products from the said operations conducted from 2018 up to the first quarter of 2019. Puno noted these dangerous Counterfeit items would have gone to unsuspecting consumers were they not confiscated by the FDA.

FDA remains vigilant in its enforcement efforts with 19 Summons with Preventive Measure Orders (SPMO), including Seizure, being implemented just in 2019 alone. It implemented 60 last year.

“The FDA has also padlocked establishments caught selling unregistered products or operating without the required FDA licenses,” Puno disclosed.

She said the seized goods included fake, counterfeit and unregistered wellness and pharmaceutical products in addition to the dangerous cosmetics cited by the EcoWaste Coalition.

Puno said the FDA is set to further intensify the campaign with the use of information technology-based applications.

“With the use of technology, the FDA can track and trace the presence of counterfeits in the medical supply chain,” she explained. She added that the technology has raised the level of public participation in tracking and reporting entities that are selling counterfeits and unregistered products online.

“Because of these measures, more than ever, drug retail businesses importing or selling pharmaceutical products are compelled to comply strictly with the requirements of the FDA for product registration,” Puno pointed out.

“The FDA has also intensified the training of its law enforcement agents in intelligence, surveillance and case build-up skills to ensure that we raise the level of our success in combating the distribution of these dangerous products,” Puno said.

“However, we cannot totally succeed without the support of civic groups like EcoWaste and of our legislators,” Puno added.

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