SAN PEDRO CITY—Authorities on Friday swooped down on a warehouse leased by Chinese nationals in Bacoor City, Cavite province, and discovered thousands of health capsules being touted as remedy to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Police arrested two Chinese nationals, identified as Zhixing Chen and Lingjie “Kira” Zhao, for selling of supposedly virus remedy called “Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang.”
Police were still looking for another suspect identified as Achinglee Payoran Xu, who would be among those to face charges for violating the Republic Act No. 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009.
The FDA on May 6 issued a public advisory against the sale and use of Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang, saying the drug “has not gone through the registration and testing process [of the FDA] and has not been issued with proper authorization in the form of certificate of product registration.”
“Thus, the agency cannot guarantee their quality and safety. The consumption of such violative product may pose potential danger or injury if administered,” the advisory read.
Police Lt. Col Vicente Cabatingan, chief of the Bacoor City police, said by phone on Friday that an anonymous tip led them to the warehouse inside Prime Pacific United for Consortium Inc. in Barangay Niog 2.
It was not clear how long the stock of medicines had been there but Cabatingan said the tenants have long used the warehouse for dishwashing products.
“It was a [Filipino] businessman who told us that he was being offered to buy these medicines to cure COVID-19,” Cabatingan said.
A quick search showed online markets selling the unregistered pills, marked with Chinese labels, for about P350 a box.
Cabatingan said that when they were planning the undercover operation “[the sellers] told us to prepare money not less than P10 million.”
The raid yielded 10,800 boxes, each one with 24 capsules, of the said drug. The medicines were turned over to the police crime laboratory.
Just last Wednesday, local authorities raided a clandestine hospital with a drugstore said to be treating Chinese nationals with COVID-19 at Clark Freeport in Pampanga.
While they did not find a hospital-like facility in Cavite, Cabatingan believed the warehouse was the “source” of the Chinese medicines proliferating in local drugstores and online markets. —MARICAR CINCO
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