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IPLG.R. No.

149907

April 16, 2009

ROMA DRUG and ROMEO RODRIGUEZ, as Proprietor of ROMA DRUG, Petitioners,


vs.
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF GUAGUA, PAMPANGA, THE PROVINCIAL
PROSECUTOR OF PAMPANGA, BUREAU OF FOOD & DRUGS (BFAD) and GLAXO
SMITHKLINE, Respondents.
FACTS:
1. The NBI and the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) conducted a raid on Roma Drug, owned
by Romeo Rodriguez. The raid was conducted pursuant to a search warrant, issued by RTCAngeles City , requested by SmithKline, the local distributor of the seized medicines.
2. The raiding team seized imported medicines such as Augmentin, Orbenin, Amoxil and
Ampiclox. These medicines were imported from abroad and not purchased through SmithKline.
3. Per the complaint filed by the NBI, Rodriguez violated the Special Law on Counterfeit Drug
(SLCD) which prohibited the sale of counterfeit drugs and that includes unregistered imported
drug products which are not registered with the Bureau of Patent, Trademark and Technology.
Their classification as counterfeit was solely based on the fact that they were imported from
abroad and not purchased from SmithKline.
4. Rodriguez challenged the constitutionality of the SLCD. He based his arguments on the
following, based on the Constitution:
a. equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights
b. essential goods, health and other social services available to all people at affordable cost
c. to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among
them.
5. The question of constitutionality was mooted with the passage of RA 9502 which is
Universally Accessible Cheaper and Quality Medicines Act of 2008. Third persons were
granted the right to import drugs or medicines whose patent were registered in the Philippines by
the owner of the product.
6. Under the Acct, with regard to drugs and medicines, the limitation on patent rights shall apply
after a drug or medicine has been introduced in the Philippines or anywhere else in the world by
the patent owner, or by any party authorized to use the invention. The right to import shall be
available to any government agency or private party.

7. The drugs and medicines are deemed introduced when they have been sold or offered for sale
anywhere else in the world.
8. With regards to the two statutes, the latest legislative expression prevails and the prior law
yields to the extent of the conflict.
ISSUE: Should Rodriguez still be prosecuted even with the passage of RA 9502?
HELD: NO.
1. The prior law has deprived Filipinos the choice of a less expensive drug for their health by
denying them a plausible and safe means of purchasing the medicine at a cheaper cost.
2. The law would make criminals out of doctors coming from abroad who do humanitarian
missions here and bringing their own pharmaceutical drugs.
3. The importers, per the old law, would be equated with malevolents who would alter or
counterfeit drugs for reasons of profits at the expense of public safety. Normally, these importers
are motivated only to do so out of altruism or basic human love. For a law intended to help save
lives, the SLCD has revealed itself as a heartless, soulless legislative piece.
4. With the passage of RA 9502, the State has reversed course and allowed for a sensible and
compassionate approach with respect to the importation of drugs urgently needed for the peoples
constitutionally-recognized right to health.
Dispositive: WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED in part. A writ of prohibition is hereby
ISSUED commanding respondents from prosecuting petitioner Romeo Rodriguez for violation
of Section 4 or Rep. Act No. 8203. The Temporary Restraining Order dated 15 October 2001 is
hereby made PERMANENT. No pronouncements as to costs.