P1.5-M smuggled Chinese meds seized in Pasay

P1.5-M smuggled Chinese meds seized in Pasay

MANILA – Authorities seized smuggled Chinese medicines worth PHP1.5 million in Pasay City earlier this week, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported on Saturday.

In a statement, the bureau said a joint team confiscated the items from a storage facility in the city on January 14. 

Armed with a letter of authority, the team, composed of personnel of the Manila International Container Port’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service and Enforcement and Security Service, in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard and the National Bureau of Investigation, inspected the facility and discovered a makeshift clinic and various Chinese medicines.

The BOC said one of the confiscated medicines was identified as Ribavirin, which is used for the treatment of pneumonia and bronchitis, leading to suspicions that the clinic was treating coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.

The seized items are undergoing further inventory and investigation for violation of Section 1113 of Republic Act 10863, also known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

An investigation is also underway to identify those responsible for operating the makeshift clinic.

The BOC warned against the use of medicines without proper clearance from the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

It also asked the public not to seek treatment in fly-by-night clinics that may cause further health risks.

The bureau reminded those manifesting Covid-19-related symptoms to immediately coordinate with proper government agencies for appropriate treatment and to prevent the spread of the virus. (PNA)

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