AGAP Issue Briefing No. 2 – Counterfeit Medicines

Posted on July 13, 2006. Filed under: Resources |


In the first Convenor’s Meeting, Obet Pagdanganan raised the issue of an ad put up by a Pfizer-supported group, the Coalition Against Counterfeit Medicines, which denigrates suspiciously-priced medicines, i.e., low-priced medicines as fakes. DOH said they will check their affiliation with this group and take the appropriate action but the matter of what to do with the ad, particularly the other substantive issues related thereto, such as Republic Act 8203, which apparently serves as the legal prop of the anti-counterfeit medicines campaign,  was left open for further discussion.

In a Talk of the Town issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer last 2 July 2006, Ping of TWN raised the possibility of amending Republic Act 8203, particularly in the way the imported medicines are classified as counterfeit medicines.

Current Policy Environment

The law banning counterfeit drugs, Republic Act 8203  includes in its definition of a counterfeit drug, “an unregistered imported drug product”. This can be amended  by removing  the unregistered imported drug product as part of the definition of a counterfeit drug, but this leaves open the issue of what should be done with imported drugs that come into the country some of which may also be of dubious quality.

Other aspects of the law on the characterization of counterfeit drugs may also have to be scrutinized whether they would need to be amended, to create  a level playing field for generics medicines.

BFAD may have some rules on the registration of imported drug products and this may have to be examined closely such that they will not unduly hamper the efforts of companies who may wish to import such medicines.

AGAP Action Proposal

A bill amending RA 8203 can be drafted dealing with the issues identified above.

The BFAD can also provide some leeway for imported medicines  to easily come in without being classified as counterfeit drugs.


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