The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized smuggled Chinese medicines in Pasay City on January 14 as the agency stepped up its crackdown on illegal supplies being peddled in the country.
In a press statement on January 16, the BOC said the operation was done through the Manila International Container Port’s (MICP) Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Armed with a letter of authority (LOA), members of the joint team proceeded to a storage facility located in Pasay City. Upon serving the LOA, the team inspected the facility which revealed the existence of a makeshift clinic, as well as various Chinese medicines.
One of the confiscated medicines was identified as Ribavirin, which is used for the treatment of pneumonia and bronchitis, thus leading to the strong suspicion that the clinic was treating COVID-related cases. The medicines have an estimated value of P1.5 million.
The medicines were seized and are currently undergoing inventory and investigation for violation of Section 1113 of R.A. 10863 also known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). The investigation is also underway to identify those responsible for operating the makeshift clinic.
The BOC warned against the use of medicines without the proper Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearances. The Bureau also appealed to the public from seeking treatment from fly-by-night clinics that may cause further health risks.