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PIA Press Release
2007/09/28

Consumer advocates intensify campaign vs fake sales

by Jennifer Catan-Tilos

Dumaguete City (28 September) -- The National Consumer Affairs Council has warned major retailers, local government units and other concerned consumer groups in Negros Oriental to be more vigilant and aware against any deceptive and unfair sales practices.

The Council in coordination with local Consumer Advocates, Incorporated (CAI) and the Department of Trade and Industry has conducted a consumer empowerment campaign here last week in an effort to continue to provide information on consumer welfare protection as well as effective linkages in information network system.

CAI President Deo Salem said, the activity is needed to empower consumers in the province so that consumer rights and responsibilities would be practiced. Salem cited, that people should not always be dependent to government agencies but be responsible to seek redress on grievances directly to any seller or supplier of a certain products and services who take advantage through fraudulent manipulation.

However, going to the right agency speeds up the process and helps resolve issues effectively. The proper agency will have the authority and can immediately act on complaints.

Problems relating to manufactured product quality and safety, warranties, service and repair shops must be referred to the Department of Trade and Industry. For complaints on processed food and drugs, contact the Department of Health's Bureau of Food and Drugs.

For fraudulent weights and measures, as well as foods in restaurants and eateries, go to the City/municipal Health Office; non-issuance of receipts, BIR; on telephone rates, cellular, TV and radio to National Telecommunication Company and other government agencies responsible to specific products and services.

With the proliferation of counterfeit drugs, in the same gathering, Food and Drug Regulation Officer, Therese Antoniette Cuyos of BFAD Region7, cautioned the participants of fake medicines and counterfeit drugs sold in the market which can cause-fatal results. Some medicines and counterfeit drugs do not contain the desired dose while, others are illegally manufactured as can be noticed in the label.

Counterfeit or fake drugs can be detected by its container and label without authorization trademark that is registered in the Bureau of Patent, unregistered imported product, and no active ingredients. BFAD officer said, these are prohibited acts of which the possession of such counterfeit drugs, the party/seller is liable for the crime and can be penalized.

True to her commitment to provide the people with greater access to quality and affordable health services, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now pushing for the "half-priced" medicine program.

The President also emphasized that the "half-priced" medicine program is not a monopoly of the Philippine International Trading Center (PITC) saying "anybody who wants to buy half-priced medicine from India can do so even without going through the PITC. "But the PTIC is there should a local government unit, national government agency or any entity need seed capital, technical assistance, marketing assistance and supplying assistance," the President said.

"The PTIC only gets into all this because it is the pioneer of this program," Arroyo explained, adding that "the local government units and private drugstores that want to get into this business are welcomed even without the PTIC."

The cheaper medicine bill, which congress is going to pass, is expected to bring down the cost of medicines and give the people better access to health services. (PIA) [top]

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