MANILA, Philippines — The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said it will investigate officials of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over delayed processing of permit applications.
During the Laging Handa press briefing, ARTA Director Atty. Jeremiah Belgica said they already filed show cause orders to the FDA on Tuesday (May 11) for alleged 600 pending drug certification applications since 2014.
He also reported that 23 pharmaceutical companies have filed affidavits against the FDA for its lack of action concerning their applications.
Belgica urged the FDA to release the pending permit applications. He said that the processing of these applications should not take long since most of the permits are under automatic renewal applications or products that have previously been approved. He stressed that these products do not need to be further reviewed.
“Simpleng affidavit lang po ang nire-require ng FDA dito. So ibig sabihin kapag naisubmit na ang mga affidavit na iyan, automatically renewed na dapat po iyan. Pero sa ganito hindi nagiging automatic ang renewal,” he said.
(The FDA is only requiring a simple affidavit, meaning, once you have submitted one it will automatically be renewed. However, with the current situation, it is not being automatically renewed).
Belgica also said ARTA is coordinating with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to conduct lifestyle checks on officials allegedly involved in red tape.
He said that red tape is connected to corruption. He also reported that the complaints exceed more than 600 since the agency is still receiving complaints against centers under the FDA.
ARTA has yet to release the number of additional complaints.
Belgica also urged the FDA and the Department of Health (DOH) to replace erring personnel to avoid any hint of corruption in the agencies.
“Tanggalin na ang mga dapat tanggalin at dapat po maglagay tayo ng mga tauhan na talagang magrereporma,” he said.
(Remove those needed to be removed and replace them with personnel who would side the reform.) –AAC