SC puts gov’t-procured contraceptive implants on hold
IT LOOKS like the reproductive health (RH) law is still nowhere near enforcement.
This after the Supreme Court ordered the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a fresh round of certifications in connection with the government’s procurement of contraceptives after both agencies accepted a sizable donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation without following the guidelines set by the high tribunal.
The SC ruling issued on Aug. 24 means the 400,000 subdermal contraceptive implants—including Implanon and Implanon NXT, supposedly the most effective forms of birth control—that former Health Secretary Janet Garin had procured at P500 each, or one-tenth of the P5,000 market price with the help of the Gates’ foundation, would remain in government warehouses unless the DOH and FDA can convince anti-abortion groups they are not abortifacients.
Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te said the Second Division headed by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio upheld the separate petitions filed by the Alliance for the Family Foundation and its president, Maria Concepcion Noche, to require the FDA to hear their side on the abortive effects of the implants before their procurement and distribution as stated in Supreme Court guidelines on the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10354.
Te said the high tribunal also shot down a petition to lift the temporary restraining order issued on June 17, 2015, by the Office of the Solicitor General, which had warned about the waste of government resources with the thousands of Implanon and Implanon NXT subdermal implants in warehouses set to expire and the possibility of an acute shortage in contraceptives in the market.
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