Senator JV Ejercito filed on Thursday a bill separating the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an independent agency from the Department of Health (DOH) in a bid to strengthen its regulatory capacity.
Ejercito’s Senate Bill No. 1631, which is an amendment to Republic Act. No. 9711 or the FDA Act of 2009, proposed that the FDA be placed under the Office of the President instead.
“Naisip ko lang kung ang FDA ay attached agency ng DOH eh compromised na sya so dapat talaga independent sila para kung ano man ang ipapasok ng DOH ay pag-aaralan nila, hiwalay sila,” Ejercito told reporters.
“We just want to be sure that they will not be compromised,” he added.
Under the measure, the FDA would be headed by a director-general, with the rank of a department secretary who would be a member of the Cabinet.
The director-general, Ejercito said, should be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments.
According to Ejercito, the current organizational structure of the FDA being an attached agency of the DOH, “breeds potential conflict that can compromise its neutrality.”
“To further enhance FDA’s regulatory capacity and strengthen its capability with regard to the inspection, licensing and monitoring of establishments, and the registration and monitoring of health product, it is rational to institute FDA as an independent and autonomous body,” the bill reads.
The FDA is tasked to regulate a wide range of food and health products in the country.
Ejercito filed the bill in the wake of the controversy hounding the P3.5 billion anti-dengue immunization program of the DOH, which started during the term of Health Secretary Janette Garin in April 2016. The vaccination program used Sanofi Pasteur’s Dengvaxia, which sale, distribution, and marketing has been suspended by the FDA. /kga
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