Physical store required for online sales of health products —DTI, DOH

Selling drugs, supplies and dietary supplements online is not allowed without a physical store, trade and health officials reminded the public on Tuesday.

“Unless you have a license to operate a physical pharmacy, hindi ka pwedeng magbenta (you can’t sell) online, whether it’s dietary supplements or essential drugs,” the deputy said. Secretary of Commerce Ruth Castelo at a Ministry of Health (DOH) forum.

Dr Melissa Guerrero of the DOH’s Health Technology Assessment Unit added that pharmacies must have trained pharmacists in order to obtain an operating license from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

She said this was aimed at avoiding the potential dangers of buying health products from online stores that lack pharmacists who can properly advise and dispense drugs to consumers.

“Halimbawa ako, as an individual seller, marami akong supply. Gusto ko ibenta online (for example, I want to sell my supplies online). I don’t have the license to operate. I’m violating FDA laws so hindi ko pwedeng gawin ‘yun (I can’t do that), ”Castelo explained.

Guerrero said the FDA has “criminal penalties” for those who sell health products online without a facility that meets standards and trained medical professionals.

Castelo also said the DTI had received more than 4,000 consumer complaints about online transactions, including the sale of drugs, as of May 28.

In addition to forwarding these complaints to the FDA, the DTI is also asking online platforms like Facebook to remove the sellers involved, as unregistered sellers of health products are “proliferating” on the Facebook Marketplace.

“Fortunately, the naman online platforms cooperate with the DTI kapag may mga ganyan tayong requests, sumusunod naman sila (the online platforms cooperate with the DTI when we make these requests),” Castelo said.

“We also issue notices reminding consumers not to buy drugs online, especially the license of kung makita nila na walang to operate naman ‘yung nagbebenta (if they find that the seller does not have a license to exploitation) ”, she added.

In 2019, the FDA ordered online shopping platforms Shopee and Lazada to stop selling drugs online.—AOL, GMA News

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