Nueva Ecija First District Rep. Estrellita Suansing questioned the issuance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of an order regulating electronic cigarettes or vapes and heated tobacco products (HTPs), saying it was premature.

She stressed that the issues raised by stakeholders remain unresolved.

“Despite the unfinished public consultation on the FDA’s draft guidelines and numerous unresolved matters raised by legislators and stakeholders alike, the FDA, through the Department of Health, still proceeded to issue their regulations, without any prior notice or resolution. For whatever reason, it’s as if the valid concerns raised were deliberately ignored,” she said in a statement.

Administrative Order 2020-0055 was posted on the FDA website on Jan. 4, 2021. It provided the regulatory framework for the manufacture, distribution, importation, sale and promotion of vapor products and HTPs.

The hearing on HTPs held by the House of Representatives last year was cut short because FDA officials refused to answer Suansing’s question on the FDA’s receipt of funds from foreign groups. One official, however, admitted that the agency received a grant from Bloomberg.

“With this stubborn refusal, I could not allow the consultation to proceed given the potential conflict of interest. Arguably, these foreign grants could have pushed the policy direction of the FDA in drafting these regulations,” Suansing said.