"The Commission on Population (PopCom) has expressed concern that the country’s supply of contraceptives will be depleted by the end of 2018 if the Supreme Court (SC) does not reconsider its August 2016 order requiring product recertification," reports Sheila Crisostomo in The Philippine Star.
It may be recalled that in June 2015, the SC stopped the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from renewing the licenses of all contraceptive products in response to a petition filed by those opposing the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law. The petitioners had been led by Buhay partylist Rep. Lito Atienza.
In August this year, the SC then came up with a ruling ordering the FDA "to recertify that the contraceptive products would not lead to abortion."
In light of this, PopCom executive director Juan Perez III noted that since June 2015, the licenses issued by FDA for the contraceptives were expiring one after the other. He pointed out that the time it takes for recertification is another challenge.
"It will take five to seven months (so) it will adversely affect our RPRH programs. We might run out of contraceptives in the market," Perez said.
Perez added that "only four of the 48 contraceptive products currently available would remain in the market before the end of 2018." This, he said, "could trigger a significant increase in population, maternal deaths, and unwanted pregnancies."
The report noted: "It is estimated that if there are 1.8 million babies being born annually, this will increase to another one million if the contraceptive supplies run out."