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

Marje Pelayo   •   December 21, 2018   •   3500

 

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)

FDA must tighten regulations on processed meat – DA

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Regulations on processed meat such as well-loved Filipino delicacies tocino and longganisa should be tightened by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

According to Agriculture Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs Ernesto Gonzales, consumers cannot be complacent on buying these processed products especially if they are not sure of the source or origin of the raw meat.

Gonzales added that it is difficult to determine if the pork meat is contaminated with African Swine Fever (ASF) once it is processed.

He added that even ‘botcha’ or double-dead pork meat can be made into meat delicacies without the consumer noticing it because of colorings and extenders used in the process.

The official said the best way to determine if the pork meat is safe for consumption is to know the source of the raw meat, and if it is certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

Kapag na-issue-han na ang karne from slaughterhouse ng meat inspection certificate (once meat from the slaughterhouse is issued with meat inspection certificate), definitely that meat is safe to eat,” Gonzales said.

However, the DA admitted that the government is lacking when it comes to regulations on processed meat so the coordination of the local government units (LGUs) is of utmost importance.

Iyang problema natin yung mga maliliit na food processors na gumagawa ng mga longanisa, tocino, ang regulation hindi ganoon ka-strict ( The problem with small-time food processors or makers of longanisa and tocino is that the regulation is not that strict), ” Gonzales noted.

If ever the processed meat is infected with ASF, Gonzales said, it is still safe to eat, provided that it went through the proper cooking procedure of 30 minutes under 70’C temperature. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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

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