The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog tracking hazardous products and wastes, deplored the unlawful sale of banned Sehat Badan in Quiapo, Manila.
Sehat Badan, a herbal drink manufactured in Surabaya, Indonesia, is sold in the country without the required market authorization from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
The FDA twice issued a health warning in January and July 2014 to caution consumers against drinking Sehat Badan as “these products did not pass the FDA standard of safety and quality, therefore, public health is at stake.”
“In open defiance against the ban, beauty and herbal stalls at the Victory Lacson Underpass sell Sehat Badan from P270 to P300 per box,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
The herbal drink’s advertising claims of promoting and enhancing general well-being and treating allergy, asthma, impotence, rheumatism, toothache, ulcer and urinary stones do not have FDA’s approval.
Based on FDA’s analysis, Sehat Badan contains diclofenac sodium, ibuprofen, paracetamol and sugar (sucrose and fructose).
To protect the public health, Food and Drug Regulation Officers have been ordered to confiscate Sehat Badan and other unregistered food supplements found in the market or in possession of individuals.
To rid the market of smuggled products that pose serious health risks to consumers, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the management of Victory Lacson Underpass to ask concerned tenants to discontinue selling Sehat Badan and other products such as cosmetics and medicines that have no FDA authorization.
“We hope only safe products will be offered at the renovated underpass that is frequented by people who go to Quiapo to pray, as well as to shop,” Dizon said.
The group likewise asked the Manila Health Department to conduct law enforcement operations to clear the area of hazardous products, often illegal imports, and duly charge the culprits to break the supply chain.
Other illegal products openly sold by some retailers in the area include household insecticides with cypermethrin, skin whitening cosmetics with mercury and slimming coffee and juice with amphetamine and sibutramine.
“As there will be no supply if there will be no demand, we ask consumers to refrain from patronizing unregistered, dubious and improperly labeled products that can jeopardize their health and safety,” Dizon emphasized.