INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

Sari-sari stores need FDA authority to sell OTC medicines

A single letter made up the only error in the editorial of the Tribune’s March 9, 2022 issue sold on the street.

Hawk-eyed readers, especially those who have come to expect much from this paper, would have spotted it instantly.

After discussing the fuel price hikes that has brought the price of gasoline on the island to P75 per liter, the 12th paragraph said: “Whatever happens, Filipinos, including the peace-loving people of Catanduanes, will have to endure the war’s fallout that has not reached out shores.”

Not should have been “now”, to bring clarity to the message.

We apologize for the mistake, which we should have caught even if we were racing to beat the printing deadline on Tuesday morning.


Sari-sari stores and similar retail outlets will have to secure authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be able to sell household remedies and over-the-counter drugs, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) stated last week.

In Memorandum Circular No. 2022-025, the DILG said that sari-sari stores and similar retail outlets and micro-enterprises are prohibited from dispensing, selling or reselling prescription and pharmacist-only OTC medicines, as these medicines may only be dispensed by or obtained from a licensed pharmacist and with said pharmacist’s advice pursuant to Republic Act 10918 or the Philippine Pharmacy Act.

The department issued the circular following reports on the proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceutical products and the sale of medicines by sari-sari stores, without authorization from the FDA, as these ate a potential cause of serious harm to the health and safety of the general public.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said, however, that owners of these establishment may applu for authorization from the FDA to dispense, sell, and resell pharmaceutical products, limited to household remedies and OTC drugs which are pharmacist-only.

Household remedies refer to any preparation containing pharmaceutical substances of common or ordinary use to relieve common physical ailments and which may be dispensed without a medical prescription in original packages, bottles or containers.

On the other hand, OTC medicines are those used for symptomatic relief of minor ailments and which may be dispensed without a prescription.

Pharmacist-only OTC medicines, the DILG said, are over-the-counter medicines classified by appropriate government agencies to be obtained only from a licensed pharmacist and with mandatory pharmacist’s advice on their selection and proper use.

The DILG circular stated that sari-sari stores, convenience stores, cooperative-run stores, and other small and medium enterprises which intend to sell household remedies and OTC drugs which are not pharmacist-only will have to apply first as a retail outlet for non-prescription drugs (RONPD).

They will be required to secure the following: a license to operate (LTO) from the FDA; the employment of the supervision and oversight of a duly registered and licensed pharmacist pursuant to Section 31(b) of RA 10918; and, other requirements imposed by FDA on its LTO applicants.

The same circular mandates local government units to enact an ordinance in line with RA 10918 and the circular, which should impose as minimum penalty the revocation of the business permit of stores found dispensing pharmaceutical products without authorization.

Among others, the LGUs are directed to assist owners of such stores in securing proper authorization from FDA while barangays shall assist by referring violators to the LGU and the police for apprehension.

Pursuant to Sec. 45 of RA 10918, violators will be punished with a fine of P250,000 to P500,000, and/or imprisonment ranging from one year and one day to six years.

“Failure to enforce the provisions of the laws and guidelines outlined herein constitutes gross negligence and shall be grounds for disciplinary action against responsible local officials,” Sec. Año stressed.


THE CHICKEN. One day a traveling salesman was driving down a back country road at about 30 mph when he noticed that there was a three-legged chicken running alongside his car.

He stepped on the gas but at 50 miles per hour, the chicken was still keeping up.

After about a mile of running the chicken ran up a farm lane and into a barn behind an old farm house.

The salesman had some time to kill so he turned around and drove up the farm lane.

He knocked at the door and when the farmer answered he told him what he had just seen.

The farmer said that he was a geneticist and had developed this breed of chicken because he, his wife and his son each like a drumstick when they have chicken and this way they only have to kill one chicken.

“That”s the most fantastic thing I’ve ever heard,” said the salesman.

“How do they taste?”

“I don’t know,” said the farmer.

“We’ve never caught one.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: