• DOH barred from distributing contraceptive implants

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    The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the motion of the government to push with the procurement and distribution of controversial contraceptive implants.

    The decision penned by Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza denied the motion of the Department of Health (DOH) to lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the department from distributing contraceptive products Implanon and Implanon NXT.

    The tribunal’s second division also slammed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for issuing certifications for 77 contraceptive drugs and devices.

    “The Court is of the view that the certifications and re-certifications and the distribution of the questioned contraceptive drugs should be struck down as violative of the constitutional right to due process,” the court said.

    The SC issued a TRO against the DOH for its failure to abide with the guidelines issued by the High Court after pertinent portions of the Reproductive Health law was declared constitutional last year.

    The second division chaired by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio halted the implementation of the Reproductive Health law after the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines, Inc. (ALFI) complained that the contraceptives being distributed did not pass the scrutiny of the FDA.

    But while it voided the FDA certifications, the tribunal remanded the case to the FDA for processing of new certifications.

    It ordered FDA “to observe the basic requirements of due process by conducting a hearing, and allowing the petitioners to be heard, on the re-certified, procured, and administered contraceptive drugs and devices, including Implanon and Implanon NXT; and to determine whether they are abortifacients or non-abortifacients.”

    In upholding certain portions of the RH law, the SC ruled that health workers cannot be forced to distribute contraceptive drugs and that family planning shall be decided by both spouses as a constitutionally guaranteed right.

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