FDA warns against buying rapid test kits online to fight COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27) - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reiterated its warning to the public not to buy COVID-19 rapid test kits online, whether they have been approved or not.

Despite numerous warnings against the use of unapproved test kits since March, "rapid antibody" and "RT-PCR" test kits are still offered via social media and some e-commerce platforms.

FDA Director Eric Domingo said the department's Field Office and Regulatory Enforcement Unit is continuously monitoring and stopping them.

"They pop up very quickly and then disappear," Domingo said in a text message to CNN Philippines.

He also warned licensed distributors against offering coronavirus test kits without a doctor's request.

In the FDA 2020-498 advisory, the government prohibits the sale of rapid antibody test kits online.

"They can only be sold if requested by a physician," Domingo told CNN Philippines. "They can also be sold to local government units, companies, etc. under the supervision of a physician."

"If they sell without a doctor's request then it will be a violation," he added. "They will be asked to explain and if the explanation is unsatisfactory then they can be fined or have their license revoked."

Domingo urged the public to be discerning when it comes to purchasing such kits, especially online. The FDA earlier warned that antibody test kits could still yield false positive or false negative results.

"The use and interpretation of the results is complicated, that is why a doctor needs to supervise and interpret the test," he said.