Two nabbed for unauthorized sale of COVID-19 test kits

The National Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday announced the arrest of two individuals in Parañaque City for unauthorized sale of COVID-19 test kits.

NBI Officer-In-Charge Eric B. Distor identified the subjects as Shanon April Mejia Alegre and Esseline Raisa Sy Ong who were arrested by operatives of the NBI-Anti Organized and Transnational Crimes Division in an entrapment operation on May 14, 2020.

Distor said the case stemmed from information received by the NBI-AOTCD that there were ndividuals engaged in the online selling of COVID-19 test kits despite the issuances of Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) reiterating that COVID-19 test kits are strictly for medical professional use and not intended for personal use, and that said product should be acquired through a prescription from a licensed physician, hospitals or drugstores and pharmacies.

The FDA Circular No. 2020-016 also stated that online selling of FDA certified COVID-19 antibody test kits is strictly prohibited.

On May 13, 2020, NBI-AOTCD was able to identify an online seller of test kits. AOTCD operatives immediately established communication to the online seller of test kits for cash on delivery (COD) within Metro Manila. At the same time, the NBI coordinated with the FDA.

An undercover poseur-customer ordered 200 boxes at P12,000.00 per box of test kits worth Php 2,400,000.00 through the contact number of the seller. The seller then instructed the poseur-customer to pick up the test kits in a house in BF Homes Parañaque City.

On May 14, 2020, NBI-AOTCD operatives together with the FDA representatives conducted an entrapment operation.

Suspects Ong and Alegre failed to show any License-to-Operate when asked by the FDA representatives. The operation also resulted in the seizure of 200 boxes worth Php 2.4 Million.

Criminal charges are now being readied against the suspects and will be filed before the prosecutor’s office.

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