Woman nabbed for selling overpriced COVID-19 medicine in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — A woman in Cebu City will be facing various charges after she was caught on Monday evening, September 13, selling overpriced Tocilizumab, a medicine believed to reduce the mortality rate of severe COVID-19 cases.
According to the press statement of the National Bureau of Investigation released today, September 17, Director Eric Distor, NBI Officer-in-Charge, identified the suspect as a certain Cherry Jalaron.
Jalaron will be facing multiple charges after being caught engaged in illegal activity in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.
“Jalaron was presented for inquest proceedings before the Office of City Prosecutor of Cebu City [September 15] for violation of Section 24 in relation to Section 25 of R.A. 9502, otherwise known as “Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008” in relation to R.A. 7581 (Price Act) and Department Circular-DOH No. 2021-0291, Suggested Retail Price (SRPs) for Emergency Essential Medical Devices due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Health Event and in relation to Article 8 (Conspiracy) of the Revised Penal Code, and in relation to Section 6 of R.A. 10175, otherwise known as the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012,” the press statement reads.
Before her arrest, the NBI-7 was tasked to investigate and monitor a certain Karen Go who is allegedly behind the illegal sale of Tocilizumab in the city.
NBI-7 agents were able to communicate with Karen Go and last September 13, the bureau’s poseur buyer ordered one vial of Tocilizumab from her.
The NBI said they were able to secure a vial of Tocilizumab for P97,000 which is higher than the Maximum Retail Price of P20,581.45.
After closing the transaction with the suspect, the undercover agent and Karen Go agreed to meet in Barangay Guadalupe.
However, instead of Karen Go, Jalaron was sent to deliver the medicine and was arrested.
According to Jalaron, she was Go’s secretary and was only instructed by the latter to deliver the medicine at the agreed place. Jalaron is currently detained at the NBI-7 detention cell.
Recently, the Department of Health has scrambled to find supplies of Tocilizumab after its reported shortage in the market.
Due to the scarcity of the drug in Cebu, overpricing has become an additional concern, authorities said. /rcg
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