Questionable Quality of Medications in Cebu

One of the cool things about living in the Philippines is the ease of obtaining needed medications.  For most medications, you don’t need a prescription to actually get them.  Xanax and narcotics are an exception.  Obtaining those, even with a prescription, can be problematic.  Is it wise to get any of this without a doctors supervision, I’d say no.  The medications I take have been cleared with my doctor.

Last year, I read an article that disturbed me.  It was about two pharmacies that had been charged with selling counterfeit medication.  The charges were that the pharmacies had opened capsules, removed up to 75 percent of the drug within and filled it with another substance.  I call this practice cutting.

I asked the locals how much of a problem this is.  They all told me that if I get it from the two major pharmacy chains within the Philippines, I’d be fine.  That answer didn’t really satisfy me as those places must obtain the medications from the suppliers.  The people I asked though, they indicated if the medication is sealed, it will be safe.

I remained concerned though, I don’t underestimate the criminals of the world  I was pretty certain they could get around that!  Recently, some Chinese were busted at a warehouse in Metro Cebu City for cutting medications.  This operation included repackaging the medication.

I recently had an issue obtaining one of my medications.  The side effects of stopping it can but disabling.  it hasn’t been easy.  Is has been easier than it should be.  Since I stopped taking the medication, I have seen a massive reduction in the poison ivy like rashes I’ve been having.  I was taking around 4 Benadryl a day, now I often take none.  Rarely more than two a day.  The rashes do still come at times.  I have all my life though.  What I am experiencing now is normal for me.

I believe the medication I was taking has been cut.  So, I wont be taking it any more.  I will avoid taking anything that comes in a capsule while I am living here.  I’d rather take less medication than more anyway.  I probably need this medication but I’ll have to do without it.

You can easily find Viagra and Cialis on the streets of Cebu City.  You wont have to ask, at least if you’re a white male.  Nearly every time I’m there, at some time or several times someone tries to sell me these medications.  They hold out the tattered boxes like they are a prize.  I’ve heard second hand that one expat I know sells them.  Why?  I can go to the pharmacy and get them.  I’d have to be buang (crazy), to do that.  I don’t get it.    Use your heads people and not that one!  I don’t get why anyone would buy this on the streets of Cebu!

I’d love to have feedback on this.  What have you run into regarding these kinds of issues.  The locals will know more than we expats.  I’d mostly like to hear from Filipino.  If its really isn’t much of a problem, I’d like to hear that too.

Counterfeit Drugs

Expired Drugs

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Filed under: Living in Cebu

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