CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija: A doctor and 11 pharmacies owners were arrested while their drugstores were closed on Friday after they were found selling restricted psychotropic drugs without prescription.
The medicines, usually prescribed to persons with mental problems, were found being sold over the counter in the Drug Store, Twin Pharmacy, Maru Drug Store, Evamed Medical Supply and Shen Mica Trading and Pharmacy which are near Cabanatuan hospitals.
PDEA Director Aaron Aquino said his men conducted a month-long surveillance on the suspected drugstores before the simultaneous raid.
Confiscated from the drugstores were Nalbin Ampoule, Valium Diazepam Ampoules, Rivotil Clonazepam, Stilmox Zolpidem, Avamigram glass ampoule Ephedrine, amber glass vials of ketamine hydrochloride, and a clear glass of Fentanyl Citrate.
Drug dependents here have reportedly turned to these popular brands of psychotropic medicine after shabu became rare in the illicit market in the wake of massive arrests and deaths of suspected drug addicts and pushers.
In connection with this, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has filed charges against the arrested doctor and the owners of 11 drugstores.
Aquino identified the arrested drugstore owners in Cabanatuan City as obstetrician-gynecologist Janine Duran Chua, Domer Licban, Rose Ann Nicolas, Mylah Tambongco, Rechelle Ann Arcilla and Maricris dela Cruz, as well as Rachelle Joy Padilla of Pantabangan, Remita Leoncio of Laur, Consuelo Sevidal of Bongabon, Nieves Nazareno of Palayan City, Neme Leaoncio Angellano of Talugtug and Marivic Suba of Jaen, all in Nueva Ecija.
They were charged with violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. If convicted, they may be sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of not less than P1 million each.
The suspects are temporarily detained at the PDEA-3 jail facility while further investigation is being conducted.
PDEA–3 Director Joseph Ladip, head of the raiding team, said the drug store owners do not have the required PDEA trading license permit based on the Dangerous Drug Law that regulates the selling, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, and distribution of these drugs.
Ladip explained that one of the restricted drugs – Nalbuphine hydrochloride – gives the user the same “high” experienced when taking shabu. Besides, psychotropic drugs are cheaper and the “high” lasts longer. The user injects the medicine either in the arms or on the elbow.
PDEA operatives said some buyers do it openly even right at the drugstore after buying the drugs or on the street because the people around are clueless.
Normally, Ladip said, buyers of these drugs are required to present a doctor’s prescription and for several years Nalbin Ampoules were being sold at P150 when it only costs P25.
He said most buyers come from Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Pampanga.