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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is keeping an eye on Cebu drugstores due to an increase in flu reports.

In response to an increase in complaints of flu-like illnesses, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Region 7 began monitoring major drugstores on Tuesday to prevent hoarding and overpricing of medicines for influenza symptoms.

The DTI-7 Consumer Protection Desk’s division chief, Joy Suralta, said her agency has contacted businesses selling drugs for fever, cough, colds, headaches, and other flu-like symptoms to check they are following the Joint Memorandum Circular 22-01.

The circular, according to Suralta, regulates the acquisition of paracetamol, phenylephrine hydrochloride, carbocisteine, and chlorphenamine maleate paracetamol.

According to the circular, each purchaser of 500 mg paracetamol can buy up to 20 tablets and up to 60 tablets per household; five bottles of 120 mg/5 ml, 60 ml suspension and 250 mg/5 ml, 60 ml or 10 per household; and five bottles of 120 mg/5 ml, 60 ml suspension and 250 mg/5 ml, 60 ml or 10 per household.

Up to five bottles of 2.5mg/500mcg, 125g per 5ml suspension, 60 ml of 10 per household are allowed for buyers of phenylephrine hydrochloride and chlorphenamine maleate paracetamol; and up to 20 tablets of 10mg, 2mg/500mg, or 60 tablets per household are allowed for buyers of phenylephrine hydrochloride and chlorphenamine maleate paracetamol.

Those purchasing a 500 mg/5ml, 60 ml suspension of carbocisteine are limited to five bottles or ten per family; those purchasing a 200 mg/5ml, 60 ml suspension are limited to five bottles or ten per household.

The DTI-7 issued a piece of advice instructing drug retailers to post notices in prominent locations throughout their stores informing customers of the quantity limit on which they are permitted to purchase.

The advice further stated that selling pharmaceuticals through internet platforms is prohibited unless the Food and Drug Administration has given permission (FDA).

“Medicines and medical equipment are regulated by the FDA and the Department of Health under the Price Act. The surveillance is aided by DTI. “The DTI Consumer Group is also working with manufacturers to ensure that these medicines are available in sufficient quantities,” Suralta stated in a statement to the media.

Drugstores that break the circular are responsible under the Price Act, the Philippine Consumer Act, and other laws, rules, and regulations.

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