The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced its plans to establish a task force within the year to tackle the issue of online peddlers selling counterfeit products and engaging in false advertising. This move comes as a part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts to ensure that products, especially those related to skincare and supplements, sold on social media platforms are safe, efficient, and of high quality.
During a briefing in Malacañang, FDA Director General Samuel Zacate emphasized that the agency’s approval process guarantees that products have undergone rigorous evaluation, particularly in the case of drugs. This assurance is vital for citizens who rely on these products for their health and well-being.
To combat the problem, the FDA has been collaborating closely with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to identify and apprehend manufacturers, sellers, and endorsers of unsafe products. Many of these individuals, including celebrities and social media influencers, operate within the online space, making it a challenging task for authorities.
Zacate highlighted the difficulties faced in taking action against these offenders. “If we seize the product, if we give a subpoena or summon them, we would need a location. We need to serve the notice to them. The problem is that many of them don’t have offices because the products they sell are fake, right?” he explained.
To effectively address this issue, the task force will comprise representatives from the FDA, NBI, the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Intellectual Property Office, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. This collaborative effort aims to enhance coordination and intelligence gathering to swiftly identify and apprehend those involved in the sale of counterfeit products and false advertising.
Zacate also mentioned a previous initiative called Oplan Katharos, which was launched last year to combat counterfeit medicines. He acknowledged that tackling fake advertisements poses a unique set of challenges, making it crucial to address this issue promptly and effectively.
The FDA’s guidelines currently permit online ordering services, provided that the seller operates from an FDA-licensed drug outlet with a physical address. If a drug outlet wishes to offer online ordering services, they must apply for FDA approval for their online platform.
By establishing this task force, the FDA aims to protect consumers from the risks associated with counterfeit products and false advertising. The agency’s commitment to ensuring the safety and quality of products available in the market is commendable. With the collaboration of various law enforcement agencies, the task force will work diligently to track down and hold accountable those responsible for endangering public health and deceiving consumers.
In conclusion, the FDA’s decision to form a task force to combat the sale of fake products and false advertising online is a significant step towards safeguarding public health and consumer rights. By working closely with other relevant agencies, the FDA is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring that products available in the market meet the necessary safety and quality standards. This initiative will help protect consumers from the potential harm caused by counterfeit products and deceptive advertising practices.
Source: The Manila Times