FDA Warns Public Against Fake Vitamins Sold Online

The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released an advisory warning the public against counterfeit multivitamins + mineral tablets sold online.

The FDA said that it has monitored counterfeit multivitamins + mineral tablets Centrum and Centrum Silver manufactured by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare (PCH) being advertised and sold by online group buying site Beeconomic Philippines, owned and operated by GROUPON Philippines.

The investigation conducted by FDA and PCH revealed that the labels of the counterfeit Centrum and Centrum Silver products differ from the FDA-registered products:

a. The counterfeit products do not bear the FDA Certificate of Product Registration Number and do not contain the same formulation approved by the FDA.

b. They do not carry the complete name and address of the manufacturer and/or distributor as required by the FDA.

c. The font size of the generic name multivitamin + mineral is not in conformity with the labeling requirements of RA No. 6675 or the Generics Law of 1988, which requires that the generic name should at least be one point size bigger than the brand name.

As of posting, Beeconomic Philippines is no longer running the deal but still has the advertisement posted online. The multivitamins + mineral tablets are offered at a price of P1149 or 40% lower from the original price of P1900.

So far, the FDA has not yet issued any guidelines on online sale or advertisement of pharmaceutical products. The FDA warns the public against buying medicines online until such time that the FDA can assure the safety, efficacy, and quality of medicines sold through this medium.

The FDA advised consumers to buy medicines only from FDA-licensed establishments and outlets. An FDA compliant outlet is supervised by a licensed pharmacist and documents all transactions in procuring and dispensing drug products. Documentation and traceability are vital to post-market surveillance and investigation in case of any adverse drug reactions.

Consumers are further advised to check the labels of the medicines they are buying and report to the FDA any person or establishment illegally advertising and selling medicines.