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Philippines’ Duterte now targets fake drugs


Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents and police arrest an alleged drug dealer during a drug raid in Maharlika Village, Taguig, south of Manila on February 28, 2018. The drug raid was conducted to arrest five drug dealers, but only two were captured. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead and seen human rights groups claim he was responsible for a crime against humanity. The anti-drugs campaign enjoys popular support while the fiery-tongued Duterte has rejected any criticism of his human rights record. / AFP PHOTO / Noel CELIS

President Rodrigo Duterte of Philippines has opened a new front in his war on drugs, targeting fake over-the-counter medicines to try to stem the spread of counterfeit paracetamol, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel, said Duterte had ordered police to arrest those responsible.

“They do not only undermine or weaken the national economy by hitting a large-scale industry, they also threaten national security by endangering the health of a vast majority of the people,” Panelo said in a statement.


According to the WHO, in January an estimated one in 10 medical products in low- and middle-income countries is substandard or falsified.

WHO said the fake drugs business accounts for about 10 per cent of the annual 300 billion dollars global industry.

Panelo said poor-quality drugs could also contribute to antibiotic resistance, threatening to undermine life-saving medicines in future.

More than 4,000 Filipinos have been killed by police during Duterte’s war on illegal drug use and thousands more by unidentified armed men.

Police say those killed were all dealers who put up violent resistance.

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