The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can’t afford to go soft on this issue.
On the occasion of National Consciousness Week Against Counterfeit Medicines, the FDA has warned consumers that the huge demand for erectile dysfunction drugs has spawned a lot of counterfeit versions in the market.
Speaking at a press conference at the Philippine Information Agency Tuesday, FDA Director Suzette Lazo said erectile disfunction drugs like the popular Viagra were the top targets of counterfeiters because they were the biggest sellers.
“The demand is there,” said Lazo, adding that it was simply a matter of supply and demand.
The agency also warned about the proliferation of fake vitamins, antibiotics, hypertension, diabetes and other drugs. Lazo said counterfeit drugs could aggravate a patient’s health problems and cause a failure of treatment, not to mention the financial problems this would bring.
Or the counterfeit drugs would not work at all, she said.
Instead of giving a man an erection, fake erectile dysfunction drugs may cause apprehension and embarrassment when they don’t work.
As for concerns about prolonged erections caused by counterfeit drugs, she said this was unlikely since even genuine erectile dysfunction drugs did not cause prolonged erections.
She advised consumers to be vigilant about the medicines they buy and to examine them carefully.
She said that if appears the price of a drug is too low, this should trigger suspicion.
Consumers should check labels and packaging. Most counterfeit drugs have labels that are poor replicas of the original. The pills themselves could be irregularly colored or they crumble easily.
Consumers should also buy from drugstores licensed by the FDA and ask for a receipt so they could go back if they were sold suspect drugs.
If they have doubts, consumers can call the FDA at 156-FDA or 8078275, or text 09092090500.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona, appearing at the same forum, said consumers should check the packaging for information about the manufacturer, date of manufacture and the lot number. Ona said many drugs were sold in packages containing only the name of the distributor and this was alarming.