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FDA warns buying medicine from unauthorized doctors

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned the public against availing drug products from medical doctors in unauthorized clinics and other health facilities.

In a letter signed by FDA Director General Samuel Zacate, the agency reiterated that the act of “dispensing” should only be exclusively done by a pharmacist within a licensed establishment.

Based on Republic Act No. 10918, “dispensing” was defined as the sum of processes performed by a pharmacist from reading, validating, and interpreting prescriptions; preparing; packaging; labeling; record keeping; dose calculations; and counseling or giving information, in relation to the sale or transfer of pharmaceutical products, with or without a prescription or medication order.

“Medical doctors, as part of their practice, utilize drug products. However, several doctors procure, store, sell and offer for sale drug products to their patients,” the FDA said.

The agency said that the Department of Health (DOH) earlier issued an administrative order requiring all establishments that sell or offer for sale drug products to first secure appropriate License to Operate (LTO) or authorization from the FDA before engaging in such activities.

However, some doctors reportedly offer medicine without proper authorization issued by the FDA, without the supervision of a pharmacist, without issuing receipts, or without observing good distribution and storage practices, which is in violation of existing measures and regulations.

“The public is advised not to avail medicines from clinics of doctors unless the above mentioned requirements are met,” the FDA said.

It also reiterated that all licensed drug manufacturers and distributors are not authorized to sell to unlicensed retail outlets, including clinics of medical doctors.

The FDA thus requested all concerned to immediately cease from conducting such activities until they get proper authorization.

“Regulatory actions and sanctions shall be strictly implemented in case of non-compliance,” the FDA added.—Giselle Ombay/RF, GMA Integrated News