FDA defends acceptance of private funds, cites measly budget support | Inquirer News

FDA defends acceptance of private funds, cites measly budget support

/ 12:57 PM June 09, 2021
FDA building

The main office of the Food and Drugs Administration in Muntinlupa. (Photo from the FDA Facebook page)

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday blamed insufficient budget from the national government as among its reasons for their previous acceptance of funding from a private institution.

During the hearing of the House committee on good government and public accountability, lawmakers grilled the FDA on its “questionable” receipt in 2016 of grant from The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, or The Union, which co-manages the Bloomberg Initiative, “in exchange for the issuance of specific and pre-defined policies directed against a legitimate industry.”

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Both The Union and Bloomberg Initiative advocate against all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta asked the FDA if the agency is “not happy” with the funds provided by the government in carrying out its regulatory functions, to which FDA’s Ana Rivera responded that the allocation covered only operational expenses and not enough for research and hiring of personnel.

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“In 2016, the funds that were allotted or office was only P4 million for one year, and this would cover all the operational expenses. And so, at that time, we don’t have extra funds to conduct researches and to hire personnel. So that was one of the reasons why we decided to apply for a grant under the Bloomberg project,” Rivera said.

“If we talk of happiness, we would appreciate if Congress would allow a bigger amount of funds for the FDA since we would like to also modernize our laboratory capability. And we would also like to fully implement Republic Act No. 9711, as provided for under the law,” she further said, referring to the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.

But Marcoleta said that it appeared that FDA as well as other government agencies have no qualms accepting private funding.

The lawmaker pointed out that there is an issue of “impropriety” and “irregularity” in the FDA’s acceptance of funding from private institutions, especially when it can affect the policies of the country particularly in the tobacco industry.

“The money being solicited are coming from the advocates that ban and prohibit the use, the manufacturer, and the sale of tobacco in the country. And therefore, the FDA is placed in a situation where it has no choice but we strictly regulate if not to prohibit [it],” Marcoleta said.

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TAGS: Bloomberg Initiative, Food and Drug Administration, House of Representatives, Rodante Marcoleta, Tobacco
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