Local law regulating sale of medicine in ‘sari-sari’ stores pushed

The Baguio City Council, in its regular session last Monday, approved on first reading an ordinance localizing Republic Act No. 1098 otherwise known as the Philippine Pharmacy Act.
The said Act prohibits the sale, reselling, dispensing, and compounding of prescription medicines and pharmacist-only over-the-counter (OCT) medicines in all retail outlets except those that are duly licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Prescription/ethical medicines, as defined by the Implementing Rules and Regulation of the Act, are those that can only be dispensed by a pharmacist to a patent upon the presentation of a valid prescription from a physician, dentist, or veterinarian and for which a pharmacist’s advice is necessary.
Pharmacist-only OCT medicines, according to the IRR, are over-the-counter medicines classified by appropriate government agencies that can be obtained only from a pharmacist with mandatory pharmacist’s advice on its selection and proper use.
Section 6a of the IRR states that prescription medicines shall be dispensed only with a valid prescription of a physician, dentist, or veterinarian and that dispensing of pharmaceutical or drug products for veterinary use should be by the prescribed guidelines of the FDA.
Furthermore, Section 6b of the IRR provides that prescription drugs and pharmacist-only OTC medicines shall be dispensed only by a pharmacist except in emergency cases where the services of a pharmacist are not available and that, in such cases, a duly certified pharmacy assistant or pharmacy technician may dispense the medicine, provided that a report shall be submitted to the supervising pharmacist within 24 hours after the occurrence of the emergency.
In the proposed ordinance, other guidelines from DILG MC No. 2022-025 have been added apart from those stipulated in RA 1098 and its IRR.
The proposed ordinance adds that sari-sari stores, microenterprises, and other similar retail outlets may apply for authorization from the DFA to dispense, sell, and resell pharmaceutical products that are limited to household remedies and over-the-counter drugs by securing the following: a license to operate (LTO) from the FDA; employment of the supervision and oversight of a duly registered and licensed pharmacist, under Section 31b of RA 10918; and other requirements imposed by the FDA.
(DILG MC No. 2022-025 Sections & 4.1.4) The said DILG MC directs all local government units (LGUs) to enact an ordinance in line with RA 10918, the MC itself, and other related laws and issuances. It also mandates the integration of the national guidelines in the existing business permit and licensing systems and requirements of all LGUs.
Any person or any entity found to have committed any of the prohibited acts stipulated in the ordinance shall be fined
P1,000.00 for the first offense; P2,000.00 for the second offense; and P3,000.00 for the third and subsequent offenses as well as revocation of their business license/permit.
Violators shall be informed of their violation and penalty using a citation ticket system as stipulated in the ordinance.
The Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and Permits and Licensing Division (PLD) under the City Mayor’s Office and the concerned barangays shall be tasked to implement the ordinance.
The barangays shall be directed to carry out information, education, and communication efforts on the regulations stipulated in the ordinance; refer violators to the PLD or the BCPO for apprehension, and integrate the ordinance into their barangay permit system and requirements.
The proposed ordinance has been referred to the Sanggunian’s Committee on Health and Sanitation, Ecology, and Environmental Protection for review.
Sangguniang Panlungsod/JGH

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