Condom may be last contraceptive standing

By 2020, the condom will be the only contraceptive available for Filipino couples who want to plan their families.

Only the condom will be left as other contraceptives are expected to be out of the market in the next three years, Health Undersecretary Gerard Bayugo said over the weekend.

This is because condoms are not covered by the Supreme Court ruling to secure a certificate of product registration (CPR) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to distribution to the market, Bayugo added.

In June 2015, the high court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the FDA from granting and renewing CPRs of contraceptive products.

“Condoms are not included in those not being given CPRs because they are apparently considered as equipment or devices and not drug product,” Bayugo explained.

The government and other reproductive health advocates are pushing for the immediate lifting of the TRO against renewing CPRs of contraceptives as the non-issuance of CPRs will result in the unavailability of contraceptives in 2020.

The Commission on Population (Popcom) earlier reported that the CPRs of 47 family planning products will expire in 2020.

Popcom said the CPRs of 20 contraceptive products will expire by the end of March, while CPRs of nine more products will expire by the end of 2017.

In 2018, the CPRs of 13 more contraceptive products will expire, four by 2019, and the last one by 2020.

Popcom warned that by June, only the expensive brands of contraceptives would be available in the market and this could further push the population to 103 million.

Bayugo lamented that the Department of Health (DOH) is already having difficulty in purchasing contraceptives, which will be given for free to couples who want to plan the number of their children.

“We cannot compel couples to use condoms since it will be the only ones available. It is not our principle. It is against what we promised. We wanted to give them choices. It is their decision, not ours,” he explained.

But he gave assurance that DOH is willing to provide more condoms to the public if there would be a huge demand from couples.

“Maybe, if we see that there is an increase in demand, then probably we can respond and buy more if we will be allowed to buy,” he added.