High court TRO on contraceptives slowly killing women, says DOH exec
A Supreme Court order effectively blocking the entry of most birth control products in the market is “slowly killing” Filipino women, as the Philippines stands to run out of contraceptives by 2020, reproductive health (RH) advocates warned recently.
Speaking at a forum organized by House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, a Taguig representative, Junice Melgar of the Department of Health’s (DOH) national implementing committee on the RH Law said the high court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) on the certification of contraceptive products had far-reaching health implications for women.
“Slowly, I think they are killing women,” the director of the DOH’s Family Health Office told the forum on Friday.
“Last year, the registration of several products expired already. This year, we expect 62 percent to expire. Next year, a full 90 percent will be expiring. And by 2020, there will be no contraceptives, nothing,” she said.
The RH Law was passed in 2012 guaranteeing universal access to sexual education and maternal care, as well as methods on contraception and fertility control.
But in 2015, the Supreme Court stopped the DOH’s program for the distribution and sale of contraceptive implants and barred the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from “granting any and all pending application for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices.”
In an August 2016 ruling, the high tribunal denied the motion of the DOH to lift the TRO and instead remanded the case to the FDA to check if the products had abortifacient side effects.
Cayetano warned that the scarcity of contraceptive supplies would endanger the health and lives of millions of Filipino women.
“The Supreme Court wants each contraceptive brand to undergo public hearing. But there is nothing in the law that says that,” she said.
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