Lawmaker calls for House probe on FDA contraceptives review

MANILA-- A lawmaker wants the House of Representatives to look into the status of the public hearings and consultation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on determining whether the contraceptive implants covered by a 2015 temporary restraining order (TRO) are abortifacient.

AGBIAG Party-list Representative Michelle Antonio has filed House Resolution No. 1097 calling for a congressional probe as to why the FDA has not yet conducted a summary hearing to resolve the issue on which contraceptive drugs and devices have abortive effects.

To recall, the Supreme Court issued a TRO in June 2015 to the Department of Health from "procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing, or administering, advertising, and promoting the hormonal contraceptive "Implanon" and "Implanon NXT".

The TRO has barred the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) from renewing the certificate of registration of various contraceptives, which is a requirement before these products can be distributed and sold in the market.

In August 2016, after a motion for reconsideration had been filed by the government, the SC denied the government's motion and expanded the TRO to cover other contraceptive products available in the Philippine market.

"They (FDA) must explain why they have not yet conducted any hearings and consultations nearly a year after the decision was promulgated. Meanwhile, millions of Filipino women are losing access to birth control," Antonio said.

According to the Commission on Population (POPCOM), 31 percent or 15 contraceptive brands have expired as of December 2016, and 90 percent of contraceptive brands will no longer be available by 2018.

POPCOM also warned that all untapped contraceptive supplies will run out by 2020.

DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial told reporters in a press conference last May 30 that the FDA will conduct public hearing and consultation on contraceptive implants "as soon as possible."

Source: Philippines News Agency

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