FDA: Vape Bill is an unhealthy measure

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has echoed and supported the position of the Department of Health (DOH) that the Vape Bill passed by the lower House is not a healthy measure.

FDA OIC-Director General Oscar Gutierrez Jr. said the bill’s approval would reverse the “significant progress” made under the previous Duterte administration which includes the landmark legislation and executive directives like the smoke-free and vape-free policies and the sin tax reforms.

“The FDA calls for the continuity of these initiatives and the consequent strengthening of the Tobacco Control and Prevention Strategy of the Philippine Government, ultimately for the protection of public health and safety,” Gutierrez said.

The DOH, through the FDA, “bears the constitutional mandate to protect every Filipino’s right to health by establishing effective regulatory systems,” he added.

FDA has cited a Supreme Court decision in the case against the Philippine Tobacco Institute Inc. reaffirming the regulatory jurisdiction of the FDA over all health goods including tobacco and other related products.

Gutierrez noted that the FDA “has the rightful authority, possessing the expertise, competencies, and manpower to develop standards to regulate and monitor novel tobacco products.”

The agency also disagrees with the intent of the Vape Bill to transfer the regulatory jurisdiction of such products from the DOH to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Gutierrez assured the “FDA does not intend to undermine the DTI, but rather wishes to respect the delineation made between the jurisdiction of the DOH and the DTI on consumer products under Republic Act 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines, where health products, including hazardous substances, are under the jurisdiction of the DOH.” Gutierrez also belied claims that vapes are currently banned.

He likewise belied allegations that “FDA has regulations in place to legitimize manufacturers, traders, distributors, and retailers of such products,” he said in a statement.