No manufacture of counterfeit medicines in the Philippines – IPOPHL
MANILA, Philippines – The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has declared that no counterfeit drugs are being produced in the country, after a recent US government report cited the Philippines as one of the main sources of fake drugs in the world.
IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba said in a text message that he met with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) last week and reiterated the Philippines’ responses to repeated concerns about counterfeit drugs.
“There is no manufacturing of counterfeit drugs in the Philippines, as reported by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the NCIPR (National Committee on IP Rights). We suspect transshipments,” he said. declared.
IPOPHL Deputy Director General Teodoro Pascua said in a text message that according to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the FDA , counterfeit pharmaceuticals seized in the Philippines come from overseas. and are not from the country.
“Recent (January to April 2022) raids by BOC and NBI involving likely counterfeit pharmaceuticals indicate the items originated overseas and were not registered with the FDA,” he said. .
While the Philippines remained off the watch list of countries with problems protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights in the USTR’s Special 301 Report released last week, the U.S. his concerns about counterfeit medicines in the country.
The USTR cited a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office which found that the Philippines and other countries such as China, the India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan were the main sources of counterfeit medicines distributed around the world.
Additionally, the USTR said that over the past year, countries have continued to report significant amounts of counterfeit imports from China, including coronavirus disease 2019 test kits, personal protective equipment such as air-purifying particulate respirators that meet U.S. Department of Health (N95) certification standards and equivalent masks, disinfectants, detergents, and disinfectants.
“We looked at the report cited by the OECD and it apparently covered issues between 2014 and 2016, in short, things that are probably outdated and no longer exist,” he said.
Nevertheless, IPOPHL is talking to the FDA, PNP, NBI and BOC about this.
Besides counterfeit drugs, the USTR said the Philippines, as well as India and Malaysia would have slow trademark opposition or cancellation proceedings.
Both of these concerns were also raised by the USTR in last year’s Special 301 Report.
“We have been improving our processes since I took office in 2020. We just have to comply with the processes under the Intellectual Property Code on trademark cancellation,” Barba said.
Pascua said IPOPHL’s Office of Legal Affairs, which has instituted and strengthened its alternative dispute resolution processes, has seen an increase in cases resolved through the alternative mechanism.
He also said that cases submitted for decision were given 40 days to issue the decision.
“Thus, the improvements made will make the resolution of trademark opposition cases one of the fastest in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations),” he said.
Although the USTR has expressed some concerns about counterfeit drugs and trademark cancellation proceedings in the Philippines, it has recognized the country as one of those that have taken action against unauthorized camcorders.
“The United States urges countries to adopt laws and enforcement practices designed to prevent unauthorized camcorders, such as the laws that have been passed in Canada, Japan, the Philippines, and Ukraine,” the statement said. USTR.
The USTR Special 301 Report identified Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela as the countries on the Priority Watch List or those with the most significant concerns regarding insufficient protection or enforcement of intellectual property. These countries will be the focus of intense bilateral engagement over the coming year.