Sep 26, 2021 @ 14:19

Physician, daughter nabbed in Cebu City for alleged smuggling of Tocilizumab

Government agents have arrested a physician and his daughter for alleged smuggling of COVID-19 medicines in Cebu City.

National Bureau of Investigation Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Eric B. Distor identified the suspects as Dr. Nelson Ong and his daughter Raisa Nicole.

According to Distor, the NBI-Central Visayas Regional Office (NBI-CEVRO) received an information on September 14, 2021 that a shipment of illegally imported Tocilizumab placed in a cold storage box is due to arrive from Manila to Cebu via a Philippine Airlines flight.

Tocilizumab is a medicine used for treatment of severe COVID 19 patients.

The shipment was consigned to a certain Raisa Ong, whose name had already cropped up in the intelligence report as one of the active distributors of Tocilizumab and other COVID-19 related medicines in Cebu.

Acting under orders from Distor, NBI-CEVRO operatives proceeded to PAL Cargo arrival area at MCIAA Complex, Lapu-lapu City to validate and verify the information.

The operatives coordinated with cargo personnel and conducted a visual inspection of the target package, then requested the personnel to separate the cargo and put it in a secured place until the arrival of the consignee/claimant.

Later, a Chinese looking female, later identified as Raisa Ong, showed up to claim the package and was accompanied by suspect Nelson Ong.

NBI-CEVRO operatives immediately approached them and requested to open the cold storage box, in which they agreed.

Suspects opened the box and ten (10) pieces of Tocilizumab vials and 25 boxes of Baricitinib, also a medicine for CVID 19, were found inside.

Upon inspection, the medicines appeared to be imported from India but no local importer or distributor and without the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved labelling and prints.

When asked for authority to import said medicines, the suspects could not present any document or license to import, distribute or sell the medicines, prompting the operatives to arrest them.

Certification issued by the FDA also revealed that no authority or license to operate as drug importer and/or any drug establishment of any pharmaceutical drugs has been granted to the suspects.

Suspects were presented for inquest before the Lapu-lapu City Prosecutor’s Office for violation of Republic Act 3720 as amended by R.A. 9711, otherwise known as the “Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009” in relation to R.A. 10863 (Custom’s Modernization Act).

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