Philippines lifts ban on 51 contraceptives

The Phillipine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has effectively revoked a supreme court order from 2015 that had temporarily banned 51 female hormonal contraceptive products by establishing that these contraceptives do not induce abortion. The temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued by the Supreme Court (SC) on contraceptives more than two years ago and was based on a petition by a pro-life group, alleging that all hormonal contraceptives were abortifacient, and aimed at having these vital commodities totally banned from the market.

The FDA action complies with the court condition that allowed for automatic lifting of the ban after the FDA had ‘re-certified’ the contraceptives. This move will address the significant shortfall of contraceptives available to women, especially those belonging to lower-income groups. The FDA decision balances the government’s efforts to improve delivery gaps in reproductive health services and calls for full implementation of the reproductive health law. The primary challenge now for the government is to ensure the timely dissemination of these hormonal contraceptives that have been lying in storage for more than two years and are nearing their expiry date.