Duterte repeats: don’t buy medicine in sari-sari stores

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The sale of over-the-counter drugs in sari-sari shops may soon be a thing of the past. (Graphic design by MARIE FARO / INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines – Do not buy medicine from sari-sari stores or your illness may even get worse.

President Rodrigo Duterte repeated this reminder of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in his weekly recorded briefing “Talk to the People”.

Earlier, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reported that the DILG issued a circular urging local governments to pass ordinances banning sari-sari and similar stores from selling drugs.

“I’ll say again: don’t buy any medicine – I can’t mention medicines, that wouldn’t be appropriate – but you could buy at the same time, it’s something that pharmacies have thrown away because they’re expired” , Duterte said in Filipino. .

“And they were forwarded to a sari-sari shop. Ah, if you buy there, you will have a headache if you take this. And your stomach will hurt and your pocket, and then you’ll be in the hospital and that’s another prescription. It’s the truth when you buy there. This is what will happen,” he said.

Duterte said local government officials, especially barangay chiefs, should remind their constituents not to buy medicine from sari-sari shops.

Last Thursday, Año issued this notice to local governments to review reports from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that some sari-sari stores and online shops on online shopping apps had been caught trying to to sell fake drugs.

In early January 2022, the country saw a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections due to the Omicron variant, which experts said was more transmissible than the Delta variant.

The increase in cases, which are believed to be milder than the Delta variant, has led many Filipinos to resort to self-medication using over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol and other painkillers to recover from COVID-19.

However, the increase in demand also meant that scrupulous groups found an opportunity to spread fake drugs in the market.

On January 11, officers from the Customs Bureau seized in a raid more than 30 million pesos worth of fake medicines, including common medicines used to treat mild cases of COVID-19.

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