DOH asks SC anew to lift TRO on contraceptive implants
The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its September decision denying the lifting of the restraining order on the procurement, selling, distributing, dispensing and administering and promoting contraceptive implants.
In a 47-page motion for reconsideration, the DOH through Solicitor General Jose Calida, also urged the high court to reverse its order for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review whether certain contraceptive drugs and devices are abortifacients or non-abortifacients.
“If carried out, the SC decision could result in over 900 additional maternal deaths every year arising from almost one million unintended pregnancies that could have been addressed by the full implementation of the Family Planning Program,” Population Commission executive director Juan Antonio Perez said.
“Those who opposed the law in the legislative arena are now trying to reverse the judgment of history through backdoor judicial dilatory tactics, but the millions of Filipinos who stand to benefit from the law will surely bring all of this to an end,” Perez added.
A restraining order was issued in July last year by the high court’s second division following a petition filed by the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (Alfi) that claimed that the Department of Health’s (DOH), in implementing Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law), disregarded due process and committed a grave abuse of discretion.
Alfi also wants a blanket restraining order not just for hormonal contraceptive ‘Implanon’ and Implanon NXT’ but other similar products.
The DOH, through the Office of the Solicitor General, told the high court that the restraining order should be lifted because the restraint would result in the depleted supply of contraceptive drugs and devices in both accredited public health facilities and in the commercial market.
It added that government funds will also go to waste because huge quantities of ‘Implanon’ and ‘Implanon NXT’ will expire and yet still in government warehouses.
But the high court said the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has to conduct a hearing on Alfi’s opposition to the said drugs.
“To lift the TRO (temporary restraining order) at this time would be to grant a motion for execution before a trial. The Court emphasized that the TRO did not mean that the FDA should stop fulfilling its mandate to test, analyze and scrutinize and inspect drugs and devises,” high court’s Information Chief Atty. Theodore Te said at a press conference.
The high court explained that the subject of the TRO is the granting of certification or recertification of contraceptive drugs without giving Alfi the opportunity to air its objections. Also covered by the TRO is the distribution and administration of Implanon and Implanon NXT and similar contraceptives until they are determined to be safe.
In 2014, the high court ruled that the RH Law is “not unconstitutional.”
In its ruling, it declared unconstitutional eight of the law’s provisions.
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