The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory to warn the public against buying and consuming counterfeit paracetamol tablets. The agency said pharmaceutical firm United Laboratories Inc. had confirmed with them about the availability of fake Biogesic 500-milligram tablets in the local market.
Unilab is the manufacturer and distributor of Biogesic tablets, a popular brand of paracetamol among local consumers.
“All healthcare professionals and the general public are hereby warned as to the availability of this counterfeit drug product in the market, which poses potential danger or injury to consumers,” FDA said in the advisory.
The agency advised consumers to buy Biogesic tablets and all other drug products only from duly licensed drugstores. At the same time, it warned all other establishments against selling fake drug products. FDA also asked law enforcement agencies to coordinate with local government units to make sure such fake medicines will not be sold in any area.
Breach of the Republic Act 9711 (the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009) and/or the Republic Act 8203 (the Special Law on Counterfeit Drugs) imposes sanctions and penalties to individuals and businesses.
Here’s a quick guide on how to identify real from fake Biogesic tablets.
1. Fake medicines’ packaging is obviously different from the latest packaging design registered by Unilab with the FDA. Packaging of fake products chip easily on the sides—an easy sign of tampering.
2. The foil pattern is different compared to original. Fake Biogesic tablets come in foils with dotted patterns while authentic ones come in foils with diamond patterns.
3. Fake Biogesic tablets come in packages that are hard to read, while the original ones come in foils with labels that are easily visible and readable.
4. Lastly, fake Biogesic tablets appear paler or brighter compared to authentic ones.
Most of these fake Biogesic tablets are also sold in the same prices as those of authentic. There is no advisory yet about the impact to health of such fake products, though authorities reiterate that it is always better to be safe.