Crackdown on counterfeit pharma goods sought
MANILA -The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL), brand owners and e-commerce platforms are revising a cross-sector agreement to curb counterfeiting and piracy, eyeing intensified measures on the entry of bootlegged pharmaceuticals to the country.
The IP-rights body on Tuesday said they were revising the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed two years ago, citing the effectiveness of the joint initiative to crackdown on IP-related crimes.
“The previous and current achievements of the e-commerce MOU to curb the sale of counterfeit and pirated goods over the internet cannot be denied and has even been cited as a best practice in the ASEAN region,” said IPOPHL Director General Rowel Barba, citing a 2020 report by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade.
No FDA approval
“However, there’s always room for improvement, especially if we are to build a safe e-commerce environment for both consumers and brand owners,” he added.
Among the improvements suggested by signatory companies is to pay greater attention to the influx of pharmaceutical products being sold in the Philippines, but are not licensed to be sold in the country.
Genevieve Aguila, legal director for GlaxoSmithKline Philippines, requested a separate wording in the agreement to cover pharmaceutical products that have no approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The measure, once included, will effectively expand the coverage beyond the definition of “counterfeit” products provided by the IP Code of the Philippines.
Other suggestions include the addition of guidelines on providing key performance indicators to monitor the achievements of signatories, the inclusion in the definition of “pirated goods” of the electronic forms of products, and the extension of the agreement to cover industrial design.
The proposals are also pushing for the alignment of the Notice of Take Down procedures with current practices of online platforms, and more activities to inform consumers on how to identify specific counterfeit products.
The latest review of the agreement was held last May 23, with representatives from Shopee, Zalora, Golden ABC, Globe Telecom, GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Cambridge University Press, Pharmaceutical Security Institute and Honeywell present in the meeting.
Kristian Nico Acosta, legal manager for Intellectual Property and Brand Protection of Golden ABC said their collaboration with Shopee and Lazada had resulted in a dip of counterfeit incidents.