FDA warns public vs use of silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2021   •   395

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday reminded the public that the sale and promotion of silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide remain prohibited in the country.

The FDA issued the reminder following post-marketing surveillance activities and laboratory testing by its Common Services Laboratory, which showed that these cleaning solutions are still being sold in the market.

The agency further noted that cases of poisoning from silver jewelry cleaners with clinical features of changes of the sensorium, loss of consciousness, and hemodynamic instability as possible signs and symptoms of cyanide poisoning. These were documented by the National Poison and Management Control of the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (NPMCC, UP-PGH) up to the year  2020.

“In order to eliminate potential risks to human health brought about by cyanide exposure, the FDA hereby reiterates the ban of all silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide that is manufactured, distributed, imported, sold, and offered for sale or promoted in the market/e-commerce marketplaces,” the FDA said in its advisory.

“Cyanide is a highly toxic chemical, which may be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or ingested (accidental or deliberate) even at small doses/concentration,” the agency said.

“Exposure to cyanide may bring about any of the following signs and symptoms within minutes –dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, restlessness, and weakness or may lead to respiratory failure, loss of consciousness, and possibly death, among others,” it added.

It also advised the public to always check if a product is registered with the FDA by using its Verification Portal.

“All concerned establishments are warned not to distribute any banned household/urban hazardous substances,” it said.

“All FDA regional field offices and regulatory enforcement units, in coordination with law enforcement agencies and local government units, are requested to ensure that banned products are not sold or made available in the market or areas of their jurisdiction,” it added.

Anti-Red Tape Authority to probe FDA officials over delayed permit applications

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 14, 2021

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

Show-cause order issued to FDA drug center for alleged inaction on over 600 applications

Marje Pelayo   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has issued a show-cause order to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Drug Regulation and Research (CDRR) for allegedly not acting on over 600 drug applications despite having complete requirements.

The order, sent on Tuesday (May 11) by ARTA Investigation Enforcement and Litigation Director Jedrek Ng, directs FDA-CDRR Director IV Jesusa Cirunay  to “explain why no administrative or criminal case should be filed” against her over delays in applications of various pharmaceutical companies filed as far back as 2014 or so.

“Pag titingnan po ito ang mga applications na ‘to di ito kumplikado. Ito yung mga aplikasyong for automatic renewal. Ito ay mga produkto na dati nang ginagamit at ngayon ay gusto lang i-register o yung iba naman ay low to no risk sa taumbayan,” ARTA director general Jeremiah Belgica said.

“Di namin maintidihan kung bakit ito ay naiipit at ito ay palagi na nangyayari diyan sa FDA particularly sa Center for Drugs. Ito ay mga aplikasyon na pwedeng aprubahan ng center director,” he added.

Cirunay is given seven working days from receipt of the order to conduct an inventory of all pending permit, license, clearance or application; immediately release all said applications which have been pending beyond the prescribed processing time.

Also, she is directed to submit to ARTA a compliance report with a list of all permits, licenses, clearances or applications issued pursuant to the show cause order.

If Cirunay fails to comply, ARTA will resort to the filing of formal charges against her in accordance with Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery law before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Belgica also urged Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and FDA Director General Eric Domingo to remove, if necessary, their erring officials and personnel.

Evaluation of EUA application for Sinopharm vax may be completed in less than 21 days – FDA

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The evaluation process for the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine will not take long before it can be granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) in the Philippines, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Tuesday.

FDA director-general Eric Domingo said the Sinopharm vaccine has already been included in the emergency use listing (EUL) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and access to its documents, including inspection reports from the WHO will be faster.

“Useful yung kanyang Emergency Use Listing sa WHO kasi before this, wala pa siyang EUA from a stringent regulatory authority katulad ng mga USFDA ganyan or Europe, Japan… hindi pa siya listed sa mga iyon. Pero yung WHO na emergency use listing that’s equivalent to a stringent regulatory authority,” he said.

“Ang maganda sa WHO kasi very transparent ang documents nyan. Available din siya sa FDA. Lahat ng ni-review nila, maaari naming ma-access kaya hindi tayo masyado mahihirapan sa paghingi ng information,” he added.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier said it has started the process of applying for EUA, pending documents about the vaccine product.

The FDA said the process may take less than 21 days once the DOH completes the application process.

“Kapag ganyan na merong WHO EUL, mas mapapabilis iyan. Nakakaya natin iyan usually less than 21 days,” Domingo said.

The FDA also echoed the DOH’s earlier statement that there are no irregularities with the government’s move to file an EUA for a Chinese-made vaccine since they also applied for the EUA of other COVID-19 vaccine brands, such as Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer, in order for these vaccines to be delivered to the country.

“Talagang nasa batas and it’s a worldwide practice,” he said. “Based on WHO guidelines, posible naman na gobyerno gusto bumili ng bakuna na walang local manufacturer or representative dito. In those cases, the government itself can get EUA.”

“Hindi naman conflict yun dahil ang EUA ay hindi naman product registration o marketing authorization lang, talagang for emergency use lang ang mga bakuna,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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