The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized thousands of counterfeit skincare products during a raid at Divisoria malls on August 30, 2016. The total cost of the seized items was estimated at 3.7 million pesos.
The move came following reports of counterfeit items sold both online and in physical retail stores in the country. Around 12,000 fake Cetaphil products sold at Binondo and Paranaque were confiscated by authorities after the brand owner, Galderma, filed a complaint.
“This puts consumer safety at risk, especially for skincare products that may cause allergic reactions and also long-term health risks such as exposure to harmful ingredients often left undisclosed by illegal manufacturers” said Atty. Edmund Jason Baranda, the counsel of Galderma, authorized manufacturer of Cetaphil.
Aside from branded high-fashion bags and products, cosmetics and skincare knockoffs are entering the market, even coming from local sweatshops. Based on research intelligence, fake products are manufactured both in China and locally. Aside from the retail stalls in Divisoria, a facility was also raided in Paranaque for illegally manufacturing Cetaphil products.
“As Cetaphil products are made especially for people with sensitive skin, the counterfeit products may cause skin irritation and flare-ups as they are not made in accordance with Galderma’s specifications. The sale of counterfeit products not only affects the reputation of the brand but also potentially puts consumers’ safety at risk” shares the Atty. Edmund Baranda.
“Product quality and safety are absolutely critical for our customers” he added.
“Galderma is committed to provide only quality products to consumers which is why we adhere to strict manufacturing protocols and quality controls. The safety of the consumers is of foremost importance to us, especially since we provide products that care for the skin. Galderma has open communication lines with its consumers so as soon as we received information about the counterfeit items, we promptly sought the assistance of the authorities for appropriate action” said Atty. Baranda.
The NBI urges consumers to remain more vigilant when buying items, especially from questionable sources. As cheaper price is no longer the sole indicator of knowing if an item is counterfeit and the counterfeit items are made to look almost the same as the original, the public is advised to be wiser consumers and to look for tamper-proof signs in the packaging.
To ensure the product is genuine, a consumer should check the product’s physical characteristics such as odor, color; inspect the packaging and the complete tamper-proof signs such as stickers and other trade-registered marks; and most especially, locate the production or manufacturing and expiry dates. It is also wise to check the product’s packaging and item on the company website, especially if it is a big name brand.
“It all starts with consumer vigilance—if a product is sold at a very cheap price, it must be too good to be true. So arm yourself with the proper information about the product or item you are buying. As we are committed to protect consumers from counterfeit goods, it is also the consumer’s job to protect themselves by not buying knockoff items and reporting cases for proper action” said NBI Intellectual Property Rights Division’s Supervising Agent Rodolfo Ignacio, Jr. who led the raid.