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PIA Press Release
2006/10/04

Drugstore pharmacists must be in all the time, says BFAD

By Danny O. Sagun

Pangasinan (4 October) -- Pharmacists are required to stay in their posts at drugstores from opening to closing time, the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration stressed Tuesday.

Food and drug regulatory officer Ryan Lewis of the BFAD office based in Dagupan City said that a drugstore found to be violating this policy may face sanctions like temporary closure or fine. He noted however the difficulty of BFAD in monitoring all pharmacies in Pangasinan. In Dagupan alone, there are some 44 drugstores.

Lewis told the Pantongtongan Tayo radio program of the Philippine Information Agency over Radyo ng Bayan – DZMQ that operators with several branches must assign a pharmacist in every store.

On the recent controversy about counterfeit drugs being prescribed or peddled by some physicians in Pangasinan to include, allegedly, government doctors, Lewis said that he was not updated on the exposes of his former colleague who is now assigned as representative of the health department in San Carlos City.

He noted however that the problem on counterfeit drugs has been greatly reduced. “Minimal lang,” he said when asked about BFAD’s monitoring on fake drugs.

Counterfeit drugs refer to those imported ones but not registered with BFAD. Fake drugs are those made of materials that cannot cure at all like plain powder or gawgaw.

Potency of medicines should range from 95 to 105 percent, he said, adding that medicines with below 80 percent potency should not be sold or used.

On whether branded medicines are better than generic ones, Lewis said that all prescription or over the counter drugs, generic or branded, undergo rigid testing at BFAD before they are distributed. He belied beliefs by even doctors themselves that generic drugs are inferior in quality to branded ones, which usually cost twice or even three times as much.

Lewis stressed that expired drugs should never be taken as they have already become useless or even poisonous, he warned. “Kaya nga dapat may pharmacists sa drugstore para mamonitor niya and kanilang stocks,” he said.

He also urged buyers to check on the expiration date of the medicines they are buying. He said medicines in very small packages are now prohibited as their expiration date can hardly be read or seen.

He also said that medicines taker should abide by their doctor’s advice. He noted the practice of some to cut into half a tablet which greatly reduces its potency or effectiveness. (PIA) [top]

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