Green Group Urges FDA to Guide Consumers on Safe and Effective Rubbing Alcohol and Hand Sanitizers to Use Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

UNNOTIFIED HAND SANITIZER: No manufacturer’s information, no ingredients’ list, no instructions on proper use, no precautionary warning, no Certificate of Product Notification from the FDA.

Amid coronavirus-driven panic buying, an environmental health group today urged the health authorities to release a listing of antiseptic and disinfectant products such as rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers that are safe and effective to use.

Through a letter sent to Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary and concurrent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the agency to draw up and widely disseminate a Positive List and Negative List of rubbing alcohol (ethyl and isopropyl), alcohol spray, “alcogel,” “alcologne,” hand sanitizing gel, disinfecting wipes, and similar products sold in the market.

“The active dissemination of the proposed Positive List and Negative List, we believe, will help in controlling the marketing of unverified antiseptic and disinfectant products by unscrupulous persons playing on coronavirus fears to make profits,” wrote Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The Positive List will provide consumers with a quick guide on antiseptic and disinfectant products with Certificates of Product Registration (or Notification) that are safe and effective to use, the group explained.

On the other hand, the Negative List will alert consumers on antiseptic and disinfectant products that have not gone through the registration or notification procedures of the FDA and whose quality and safety cannot be ascertained, it added.

“As the demand for antiseptic and disinfectant products surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we find it essential for consumers to know and have access to safe and effective products as properly verified by the FDA,” said Dizon, stressing that “the use of unregistered or unnotified products may pose health risks to consumers.”

Providing consumers with this “vital information,” the group said, will be in line with the state policy as stated in the Consumer Act of the Philippines “to protect the interests of the consumer and promote his general welfare,” particularly the consumer right to information to facilitate sound choice, and the right to be protected against hazards to health and safety.

To ensure that the general public is adequately informed, the EcoWaste Coalition suggested that the requested Positive List and Negative List be published in at least two broadsheets and two tabloids of national circulation, and through the FDA’s website and social media accounts.

To guarantee their affordability, the group further requested the DOH and the FDA to coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for suggested retail prices (SRPs) for registered or notified antiseptic and disinfectant products.

“The presidential declaration of a state of public health emergency over the novel coronavirus will certainly justify the imposition of SRPs and a price freeze for such products,” the group asserted.