Separate police operations jointly conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), local Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday (September 8, 2021) seized over P1.4 million worth of COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits from two lady sellers involved in the unauthorized possession and sale of the said test kits and other medical devices.
Rowena Rivera y Purruganan, a 44-year-old online seller or sale representative, was apprehended along Jose Abad Santos Avenue in Manila. Purruganan was alleged of being a sub-leader of the “Christian Criminal Group” (Sta Cruz, Manila chapter), which was involved in the illegal online selling of unauthorized COVID-19 RT-PCR test kit.
Purruganan was found in possession of four Clungene antigen mother boxes containing 50 small boxes or 5,000 individually wrapped cassette kits worth P625,000, one delivery receipt issued to “Clark Mendoza” with Control Number 009725, buy-bust and boodle money, identification cards, mobile phones, and a Toyota Hi-Ace.
Meanwhile, Gracel Jane Recustodio Arnaiz, a 24-year-old businesswoman, was arrested at her home in KM 7.5, Brgy. Matina Pangi, Purok 4A, Davao City, where she was found in possession of seven boxes of OTC Linghua Qingwen Jiaonang in Chinese character and one box of Clungene COVID-19 antigen rapid test worth a total of P800,000, one box of COVID-19 rapid test device, one cash sales invoice (No. 067), one pad of delivery receipt, and one pad of cash sales invoice receipt.
The two (2) female suspects were charged with violating RA 9711, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009, which strictly prohibits the online selling of FDA certified COVID-19 antibody test kits.
All COVID-19 antibody test kits (rapid test, point-of-care, lateral flow, Elisa, GICA, CLIA among others) with FDA special certification are strictly for medical professional use and not intended for personal use.
“Some business group capitalize their illegal activities due to the dispute of the urgency and shortage of COVID-19 medical devices in the height of COVID-19 pandemic,” said CIDG Director, PMGEN Albert Ignatius D. Ferro.
“Emergence of trafficking of substandard and falsified medical products have had impact and could be harmful to the public, hence the public must be cautious and not to fall victim to such illegal activities,” added PMGEN Ferro.