THE Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Shopee Philippines and Lazada Philippines to stop selling medicines online, after it had warned the public regarding the purchase of health products over the internet earlier this week.

In a statement released on Friday, the FDA said that it directed the two online shopping platforms to cease their sales of medicines in line with an advisory issued by the FDA on June 11. Shopee and Lazada will only be permitted to sell medicines when they obtain an FDA license to offer medicines online.

“The FDA, through the Regulatory Enforcement Unit, served and implemented Summons with Preventive Measure Order (SPMO) directing Shopee Philippines and Lazada Philippines under pain of direct or indirect contempt and/or other administrative sanctions, to immediately CEASE AND DESIST from further online selling and offering for sale drug products until it has secured the appropriate License to Operate (LTO) from the FDA,” the FDA said.

In FDA Advisory No. 2019-154, the FDA said that online selling of medicines is not allowed except through an FDA-approved online ordering service of an existing licensed pharmacy that has a physical establishment.

The FDA also told the public that purchasing medicines over the internet “can pose serious health risk,” adding that improper storage issues could cause serious side effects. The FDA also added that there is also no assurance of medicines being genuine since fake health products are also widespread online.

“The continuous online selling of any of these drug products will place the lives of the general public in danger and at risk. Likewise, the FDA assures the public of the continued implementation and monitoring of an effective drug regulatory system responsive to the country’s health needs and problems,” the FDA said. — Gillian M. Cortez