THE recent inclusion of two pharmaceutical firms in an e-Commerce agreement to combat counterfeit goods will help the Philippines shed its image as among the top sources of fake medicines in the world.
This the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) believes after eight entities became part of the e-commerce Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to “lay down a code of practice and strengthen coordination” among e-commerce platforms and brand owners in protecting intellectual property (IP) rights online.
The MOU “officially” added these new members: Pearson Education South Asia Pte. Ltd., BrandShield Systems Plc., Puma S.E., Treasury Wine Estates Ltd., Honeywell International Inc., Josefina Manufacturing Inc., Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) and Sanofi S.A.
The IPOPHL said it expects the recent inclusion in the MOU of France-based Sanofi and Singapore-based PSI will boost the country’s efforts to prevent the online proliferation and sale of counterfeit medicine.
The IPOPHL added these pharmaceutical firms’ support is aligned with the agency’s goal of clearing out the findings by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in its 2023 Special 301 Report. The report stated the Philippines is among the top sources of counterfeit medicines globally.
The IPOPHL added that it sees the MOU “enhances” the agency’s existing MOU with PSI signed on November 28, 2021. The agency said it partnered with PSI to combat the increase of counterfeit medicines and pharmaceutical products in the market.
The agency said the partnership involves capacity-building, raising awareness and exchanging critical information for investigation, seizure and prosecution purposes to addressing challenges in delivering safe medicines and ensuring integrity in the distribution of pharmaceuticals online.
While the Philippines has remained out of the watch list of the USTR Special 301 Report for the 10th consecutive year, the report, which identifies US trading partners that violate intellectual property rights, “once again” cited the Philippines as one of the “leading sources of counterfeit medicines distributed globally.” (Related story here: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2023/04/28/us-keeps-phl-out-of-intellectual-property-watch-list-for-10th-consecutive-year/)
Meanwhile, IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba said the IPOPHL aims to continue to add more members to the e-commerce MOU amid a “growing sentiment” to curb counterfeit goods and piracy-promoting posts over the internet.
“We hope we contribute to building a safe e-commerce environment for consumers and brand owners alike,” Barba said.
According to IPOPHL, the recent signing which was supported by the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the United Kingdom IP Office (UKIPO), took place on the sidelines of INTA’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Singapore on May 16,2023.
The “landmark” MOU among e-commerce platforms and brand owners had its first annual review on May 12. (Full story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/05/25/ipophl-gains-major-headway-in-fight-against-counterfeits-and-online-piracy/)