DOH considers TRO on contraceptives lifted

By , on November 15, 2017

Package of birth control pills (Photo By Bryancalabro - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Package of birth control pills (Photo By Bryancalabro – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

MANILA – With the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) clearance of 51 contraceptives as non-abortifacient, the Department of Health (DOH) considers as lifted the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) on subdermal implants, Implanon and Implanon NXT, an official said.

“With the advisory of the FDA, the TRO is already deemed lifted,” Undersecretary for Health Regulation, Dr. Mario C. Villaverde, said in a chance interview with the media Tuesday.

Villaverde said with the outcome, manufacturers of the contraceptive products whose certificates of product registration (CPRs) had expired due to the TRO could now re-apply.

In response to a case filed by the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (ALFI), the Supreme Court in June 2015 issued a TRO on Implanon and Implanon NXT, requiring the FDA to determine if they cause abortion or not.

In compliance, the FDA held hearings with the manufacturers of the contraceptives and pro-life advocates to give both sides a chance to explain and present evidence on the products.

Last Nov. 10, the FDA issued a resolution declaring 51 contraceptives medically safe and non-abortifacient.

A Supreme Court resolution, dated April 26, 2017, stated, “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.”

It also said that after the final resolution by the FDA, “any appeal should be to the Office of the President pursuant to Section 9 of EO No. 247”.

Meanwhile, head of Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) implementation team, former health secretary Esperanza Cabral said that with the FDA resolution, the team should recommend to the DOH the release of the implants that were not allowed to be distributed for more than two years when the TRO was in effect.

“This is so they could be used by women who need them,” she said.

The 51 contraceptives include pills, injectables and intrauterine devices (IUDs), apart from the subdermal implants.