MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified that contraceptive implant brands Implanon and Implanon NXT are non-abortifacients or do not cause abortion.
The FDA on Sunday, November 12, released the results of its re-certification process of all 51 contraceptives covered by the two-year-old temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) against the Reproductive Health (RH) Law. The document was dated Friday, November 10.
“Per the FDA’s Resolutions dated 10 November 2017 (on the applications for recertification filed by the Market Authorization Holders [MAHs] with opposition filed by Alliance for the Family Foundation, Philippines, Inc. [ALFI]), the foregoing contraceptive products have been determined to be non-abortifacient,” the FDA advisory read.
The resolution of the FDA, which began its review process in late August, signals the imminent lifting of the SC TRO. This is because the High Court had ruled in 2015 that the TRO would be deemed lifted if, after compliance with due process, the “questioned drugs and devices are found not abortifacient” by the FDA.
While the TRO was only imposed on the Implanon implants, the 2015 SC ruling also included a clause banning the FDA from “granting any and all pending application for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices.”
This led to the gradual phasing out of contraceptives in the country. The Commission on Population warned that if the TRO would not be lifted soon, 90% of contraceptives would disappear from the market.
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III vowed to fully implement the RH Law, despite his past stance on the issue. The DOH also welcomed the FDA resolution on contraceptives.
“We assure everyone that the full and strict implementation of the RH law which President Duterte ordered earlier this year will be fair, even handed and not adversely affect our people’s health,” said Duque.
Prior to his appointment by President Rodrigo Duterte, Duque had served as DOH chief of former President Gloria Macagapal-Arroyo. At the time, the Philippine government opposed contraceptives and promoted natural family planning methods instead.
The full FDA advisory can be read below.