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Exec says online selling of PPE, alcohol prohibited

Selling of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as alcohol and face masks through online stores are not allowed and people are urged to report the violators, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) executive said.

In a virtual presser last week, DTI Regional Director Maria Belenda Ambi bared that PPEs sold online are not allowed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unless authorized since they were not able to get the necessary qualifications stated by the FDA.

“They are not supposed to sell online kay dili man gud ta maka-assure kung they have qualified sa FDA requirement in terms of quality unya kadtong gipanggamit nga materials for the preparation of alcohol, sanitizer, etc. kay naay standards sa FDA,” she said.

As per the FDA Advisory No. 2020-421, although the agency commends the initiative to provide convenience by selling online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it also warns the public of unregistered PPEs.

It said that people should always check for the list of ingredients, country of manufacture, name and address of the company or person responsible for placing the product on the market, manufacturer’s batch number, manufacturing or expiry date in clear terms, and special precautions to be observed when in use.

The list of registered products can be seen in the FDA Advisory No. 2020-422 and those that aren’t in the list yet sold in the market are urged to be reported in order to remove it in the market.

“This advisory warns unscrupulous individuals and companies to take down all posted and advertised health products such as hand sanitizers, antibacterials and antiseptics via internet sites unless these products are authorized by the FDA,” it said.

Violating companies and individuals will be penalized under Republic Act 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009. Convicted individuals shall face from one to 10 years imprisonment or a fine of P50,000 to P500,000 while companies shall face five to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of P500,000 to P5,000,000.

FDA has opened its hotline response for consumer reporting. If there are violators, people can send an email to covidresponse@fda.gov.ph. People may submit as much detail and information as possible about the source, name of product, its effects (if applicable), manufacturer, codes, lot number and expiration dates on packaging.

Ambi said that people may also report violators to them and they will forward it to the authorities. “Kung naa ta’y makit-an nga posting please report it (to us) kung dili ma-catch sa FDA, we can also coordinate with the proper authorities para ma-check ug ma-validate ni sila ug ma-aksyonan pud accordingly,” she said.

The DTI, FDA, and Department of Agriculture are currently working together along with the National Bureau of Investigation and local government units to monitor markets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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