Medical marijuana can be legalized with proper provisions – Health reform advocate

Marje Pelayo   •   December 21, 2018   •   3081

 

Marijuana plant (Reuters image) | Cannabis Oil

MANILA, Philippines – Opinions are divided about the legalization of medical marijuana in the country.

Under the Philippines law, marijuana is considered a dangerous and illegal drug.

It requires a special permit from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be able to use it for medication.

But a health reform advocate believes that legalizing medical marijuana can be possible in the country but under proper and detailed regulations.

“Compassionate use sa FDA na iyong kunyari may sakit ka tapos hindi ka gumagaling dito and then iyong relative gusto. Doctor niya ang magre- request sa FDA at paratingin iyong gamut, let’s say, galing Canada para gamitin ito sa pasyente. Pero  tayo hindi pa tayo nagma-market by law hindi pa kasi approved ang medical marijuana,” explained Dr. Anthonay Leachon.

Dr. Leachon noted that unlike cigarettes which are consumed by smoking or sniffing, marijuana needs a special process when use as medication.

“Dapat po oil or tablet. May forms po depende po kung ano ang doablity pero definitely hindi ito hihithitin,” he said.

Dr. Leachon added that medical marijuana is only given to terminally or seriously ill patients such as cancer or HIV-AIDS patients.

Filipina nurse Wendy said she observed an improvement in her son’s condition since he started using cannabis oil.

Wendy’s son who has non-verbal autism and hyperlexia, a condition characterized by strong decoding skills and delayed comprehension.

With the help of cannabis oil, Wendy said her son’s social skills improved.

He has started communicating and does eye-to-eye contact.

Wendy currently lives in the United States where medical marijuana is legal.

Despite seeing its benefits, Wendy believes a thorough study is still needed on the effects of medical marijuana to the human body.

“I agree that CBD oil use needs further research investigation, testing to prove its benefits and if its 100% effective and safe. It’s fairly new to the industry. As for us, the only proof we need to see is Spam developing as fast as he is right now. It greatly improved his quality of life even though he’s just 4 as well as ours,” Wendy said over the phone.

Health undersecretary Eric Domingo said recommendations to legalize the use of medical marijuana is still under study by the Department of Health (DOH).

In fact, they have started consulting experts on the matter.

“We need to collect scientific evidence before an official position is made. In the meantime, FDA accepts applications for compassionate use of unregistered drugs,” Domingo said.

Recently, the FDA received three applications to use medical marijuana, however Domingo said, they failed to fulfill the criteria set by the agency. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH agrees with FDA decision to ban Dengvaxia in Phl

Maris Federez   •   August 22, 2019

A Filipino nurse prepares to administer an anti-dengue vaccine during a nationwide vaccination at a school in the flood-prone city of Marikina, east of Manila, Philippines, 04 April 2016. (Photoville International / FILE)

The Department of Health (DOH) has rejected the request of Sanofi Pasteur to overturn the decision of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the use of Dengvaxia vaccine in the Philippines.

With this, the DOH approved the ruling of the FDA to permanently revoke the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia for Sanofi’s failure to submit the necessary post-approval requirements.

“The decision concerns Sanofi’s complete disregard of FDA regulations, which were precisely put in place by law to ensure safety,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

Although Sanofi was able to submit the first two versions of its risk management plans (RMP), the pharmaceutical company failed to submit the third and final version of the plan.

The DOH said, however, that Sanofi may apply for a new certificate of product registration (CPR) for Dengvaxia but this must be in accordance with the FDA regulations.

“Given that Dengvaxia is an innovative drug, the importance of complying with these post-marketing commitments is critical to public safety,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the department has assured that it continues to address the increasing cases of dengue in the country. /mbmf

Legal use of medical marijuana pushed

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Isabela Rep. Tonypet Albano is pushing for the legalization of medical cannabis known commonly as marijuana.

Albano on Monday (August 5) met with parents of children with severe medical conditions who were hoping for legal use of marijuana for treatment.

The lawmaker assured his bill has provisions to prevent abuse of marijuana once the bill passed into law.

One safeguard is for patients to have an exclusive user card to control or limit the sales of marijuana in possible designated centers across the country.

“The quantity of dispensation has to be recorded in the PDEA, DOH and the committee involved,” Albano said.

“So that mawala ang pangamba ng mga tao (people will not worry) that (it) will be abused,” he added.

Girlie Mapa’s child is having multiple seizures due to epilepsy.

“Sa isang minuto, 30,40,50 seizure siya. Nakaabang ako lagi sa kanya sa paghinga niya kung dederecho pa o mapuputol nalang (Every minute he goes through 30, 40, to 50 seizures. I stay beside him and wait if he would still fight or he would just stop breathing),” Girlie said.

Ceilz’ eldest child, meanwhile, has been suffering from brain tumor and hydrocephalus since 2013.

Just this year, Ceilz’ other child was also diagnosed with a certain type of cancer.

“May brain tumor siya. Affected ang motor skills niya. Blind siya (at) bedridden (She has brain tumor. Her motor skills are affected. She’s blind and bedridden),” narrated Ceilz Sampayo.

Both mothers are hoping for the legalization of marijuana for the treatment of their children.

The use of medical cannabis has been legalized in 22 countries around the world.

With the proposed legislation now filed in Congress, the Philippines joins Thailand and Malaysia among nations in Asia that are pushing to legalize marijuana for medical use.

However, the bill is up for a huge challenge as President Rodrigo Duterte already said he will not allow the legalization of medical marijuana during his term. – with reports from Grace Casin

34 of 400 samples of pork products tested positive of African Swine Fever – BAI

Marje Pelayo   •   July 19, 2019

Boxes of pork items from Poland intercepted in Cebu on June 27 | Courtesy: BAI

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.

The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).

China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.

From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.

Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.

Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.

The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.

That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.

“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.

“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.

Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.

Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.

Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

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