SC junks gov't appeal to lift TRO on contraceptive implants

THE Supreme Court (SC) has rejected the government's petition seeking to lift the restraining order on the procurement, selling and distribution of contraceptive implants known to have abortifacient character.

In a decision dated April 26, the high court said it could not lift the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued in June 2015 as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to look into the safety of the contraceptive implants Implanon and Implanon NXT.

"To grant its prayer to lift the TRO would be premature and presumptuous. Any declaration by the Court at this time would have no basis because the FDA, which has the mandate and expertise on the matter, has to first resolve the controversy pending before its Office," the SC said.

In denying the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration filed by the government, the SC upheld its power to review the findings of the FDA and affirmed its finding that petitioners were denied due process because the FDA failed to consider their oppositions to the products under consideration.

The SC in the decision clarified that the TRO only stopped the Department of Health (DOH) from distributing contraceptive devices covered in the petition filed by the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines, Inc.

"…the Decision (of August 24, 2016) simply enjoined the respondents from registering, recertifying, procuring, and administering only those contraceptive drugs and devices which were the subjects of petitioners’ opposition, specifically Implanon and Implanon NXT," it said.

"It never meant to enjoin the processing of the entire gamut of family planning supplies that have been declared as unquestionably non-abortifacient. Moreover, the injunction issued by the Court was only subject to the condition that the respondents afford the petitioners a genuine opportunity to their right to due process," the Court added.

The DOH, through the Office of the Solicitor General earlier asked the SC to lift its TRO as it could result in the depleted supply of contraceptives in the market and would further affect the government's family planning program. (SunStar Philippines)
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