Philippines authorities rushing to clear product approval backlogs

More than 4,000 food and drug products have been approved for sale in the Philippines since November 2018, as authorities speed to clear backlogs in the permitting process built up over years of neglect.

The move by the Food and Drug Administration to designed to clear the majority of the more than 80,000 applications that have been pending with the agency for six months or more. Tens of thousands of the applications are in full compliance with government requirements, but nevertheless have not been approved, FDA Director-General Nela Charade Puno said.

Other firms, meanwhile, have flooded the market with unregistered food and drug products, as manufacturers bypass the clogged registration process entirely, Puno said. The practice has put consumers at risk, Puno said.

As part of the government efforts, the FDA has bolstered staff. But Puno warned that the agency will set stricter requirements in the future to weed out what she called “nuisance” applications, which do not come close to fulfilling government safety and efficacy requirements.