Customs bureau seizes ₱1.5-M Chinese drugs possibly used to treat COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 16) — The Bureau of Customs on Saturday said it confiscated ₱1.5 million worth of Chinese medicines smuggled into the country, one of which may have been used to treat COVID-19.

Authorities said RIBAVIRIN, one of the drugs seized in a Pasay City storage facility, is used for medicating pneumonia and bronchitis.

"One of the apprehended medicines was identified as RIBAVIRIN which is used for treatment of pneumonia and bronchitis, thus leading to strong suspicion that the clinic was treating COVID-related cases," said the bureau in a statement.

As investigation is ongoing for possible violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, the agency reminded the public not to avail services from fly-by-night clinics.

It also warned not to use medicines that do not have approval from the Health Department and the Food and Drug Administration. This warning comes even though President Rodrigo Duterte previously allowed the military and his security to be inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines that have not yet been approved by the FDA.