MANILA— The temporary restraining order (TRO) imposed by the Supreme Court (SC) against the distribution of two contraceptive implants is considered lifted after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared them to be non-abortifacient.
In April, the SC denied the appeal of the Department of Health (DOH) that sought to proceed with the distribution of the contraceptives and gave the FDA 60 days to decide on whether or not the implants cause abortion.
“After compliance with due process and upon promulgation of the decision of the Food and Drug Administration, the Temporary Restraining Order would be deemed lifted if the questioned drugs and devices are found not abortifacients,” read an SC resolution issued last April.
SC Spokesperson Theodore Te reiterated that the SC ruling involved “a TRO over two implants only and not all contraceptives and not over the entire RH (reproductive health) Law”.
In a resolution released last Aug. 31, Te said the second division of the high court issued an entry of judgment on its revised ruling last April that voided the certifications issued by the FDA on Implanon and Implanon NXT.
“The Decision and Resolution of the Court in the referenced matter, which involves a TRO over two implants only and not all contraceptives and not over the entire RH Law, became final and executory after an Entry of Judgment was made for the Decision dated Aug. 24, 2016 and the Resolution dated April 27, 2017 on June 15, 2017,” Te explained.
“There’s nothing left to be done other than to comply,” he said in a statement.
The FDA issued the long-awaited advisory only last Sunday, announcing that Implanon, Implanon NXT and 49 other contraceptives do not cause abortion.
The agency said that the “contraceptive products have been determined to be non-abortifacient,” read the advisory, considered to be a requirement for the SC ban to be lifted.
With the lifting of the ban in place, the DOH is now cleared to register, procure, sell, distribute, dispense, administer and promote these contraceptive implants to the market.
The SC TRO, imposed in June 2015, ordered a temporary stop to procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing, and promoting the two hormonal contraceptives until they are declared non-abortifacient.
Last July, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno clarified that no TRO has been issued against the government’s full implementation of the RH Law.
Sereno made the clarification in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on the SC’s supposed issuance of a TRO against the implementation of the RH Law and all contraceptive products.
”After its decision on the partial constitutionality of the RH Law, the Supreme Court has never issued a Temporary Restraining Order against the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law,” Sereno said in a statement.
She noted that the TRO was issued against two specific contraceptives regulated under the RH Law.
“This pertains to two implants—Implanon and Impanon NXT… As clearly stated in the decision dated Aug. 24, 2016 and again in its April 26, 2017 Decision denying the Motion for Reconsideration, the TRO is limited to only those two implants,” she said.
“As soon as the FDA certifies as provided by law that they are not abortifacient, the TRO is lifted. The reason why the TRO has not been lifted yet is not with the Court but with the FDA,” Sereno said on July 27.