PH contraceptives expiring in 2018, unless SC lifts TRO
BY 2018, 90 percent of contraceptive brands will no longer be available in the market, including P248 million worth of hormonal contraceptives that would be expiring soon.
This was bared by Reproductive Health (RH) Law advocates who are now calling on the Supreme Court to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) on family planning commodities.
“The expiration of these modern contraceptives would result in a limited brand or kind of contraceptive for the couples to choose from. They would thus be deprived of their reproductive health and rights,” Lydio Espanol, Commission on Population Region IV-B director, told a forum in Quezon City on Tuesday.
“Unless the TRO is lifted, government investments like that of the procured subdermal implants which are now on stock in the Department of Health (DOH) warehouses and will be expiring by 2018 will all go to waste. Aside from the procured implants, investments made in the training of health practitioners is also wasted,” he added.
On June 17, 2015, the high court prohibited the health department from “procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive Implanon and Implanon NXT” because it prevented pregnancies up to three years.
The Supreme Court, in the same ruling, also stopped the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from granting pending applications for reproductive products, including contraceptives.
The TRO was issued a year after the high tribunal ruled that the Reproductive Health Law was constitutional.
The health department found the apparently contradictory ruling “frustrating” and made a similar appeal to the high court to lift the ban.
Citing studies by the National Demographic Health Survey, RH Law advocates said there were 1.9 million unplanned pregnancies annually, which might be risky for the women if they were not given access to proper health care.
May-I Fabros, representative for WomenHealth Philippines, said the TRO issued by the high court against the distribution of contraceptive implants, particularly Implanon, by the DOH, as provided under the Reproductive Health Law “creates a barrier” for women who may want to make their own decisions in terms of pregnancy and motherhood.
“Let us not rob them of the capacity to make their own decisions. We call on the Supreme Court to provide healthcare for young women and girls,” said Fabros in a press briefing.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.