PopCom: Most contraceptives to expire in 2019

MANILA-- A top official of the Commission on Population (PopCom) on Thursday warned of untapped contraceptive products that are set to expire in 2019 with the derailed implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law.

In a press conference, PopCom Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez said 98 percent of contraceptive brands will expire by the end of 2019 and will remain unused if the Supreme Court's temporary restraining order (TRO) continues to block the distribution of select contraceptives and certification of all other family planning commodities.

"Effectively, it will end in 2019. All contraceptives will no longer be available by the end of 2019," Perez said.

In June 2015, the SC issued a TRO to the Department of Health from "procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing, or administering, advertising, and promoting the hormonal contraceptive 'Implanon' and 'Implanon NXT'".

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.

The RPRH Law or Republic Act 10354 guarantees universal access to all methods of modern contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, and maternal and child care.

Perez also noted that the Philippine population may explode to 113 million in 2022 from its current count at 104 million.

Perez explained there will be 3 million more births by 2022 if the TRO on implants is maintained.

"Our prediction is there will be an additional 3 million more births because of the withdrawal of Implanon by 2022," he said.

Perez said 2.6 percent of women were recipients of implants and it was projected to increase to 9 percent if the TRO had not been imposed.

Mothers dying during childbirth or maternal deaths may also rise by an additional 1,000 deaths a year, he added.

For his part, Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) Executive Director Romeo Dongeto called on the Supreme Court to lift the TRO affecting family planning.

"It is lamentable that almost five years since its enactment, the agencies tasked to implement the law cannot focus on implementing but are instead occupied with addressing legal issues such as this TRO," Dongeto said.

Dongeto said this SC decision would result in contraceptive stockout in the country affecting more than 13 million Filipino women.

"Addressing unmet need for family planning is a big step towards fulfilling Filipinos' reproductive health and rights as enshrined in the RPRH Law... We hope that this Women's Month, the Supreme Court will finally decide in favor of the rights and health of Filipinos, especially women," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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