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Food-inspired flavors in liquids for vapes, e-cigarettes will be banned

FOOD-INSPIRED flavors used in e-liquid for vaporizers (vapes) and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) will be among those excluded from a list of allowed flavors that is planned to be released in September by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “We’re still preparing and probably (we will release it) by end of September,” FDA officer-in-charge Rolando Enrique D. Domingo said in an interview with reporters on Monday. Mr. Domingo, who also sits as undersecretary of the Department of Health (DoH), said the flavors that would be permitted are those already existing in actual tobacco-based cigarettes such as tobacco and mint. He pointed out that if e-cigarette and vape groups argue that using electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS) are intended for those trying to quit tobacco products, this should not have flavors that will attract even those who do not smoke. “Kasi (Because) if people use it only to quit smoking, dapat wala siyang pinagkaiba sa sigarilyo (it should be no different from cigarettes),” he said, adding that these devices should not have sweet or other appetizing flavors. The list of allowed flavors for e-liquids is in line with DoH’s Administrative Order (AO) 2019-0007 published last July. The guidelines state that all industries involved in the manufacture, distribution, importation, exportation, sale including online sale, offering for sale, and transfer of ENDS/ENNDS are required to get a license to operate from the FDA. E-cigarette and vape groups have slammed the provision in the AO banning flavors that appeal to the youth. The Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) said in a social media post on August 18 that the rule is “vague.” — Gillian M. Cortez

Patients’ group seeks lifting of ban on Dengvaxia


THE PHILIPPINE Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (PAPO) called on the Department of Health (DoH) on Tuesday to lift the ban on the Dengvaxia vaccine. In a statement, PAPO said the widespread cases of dengue in the country justifies the release in the market of Dengvaxia, the first and currently the only vaccine available for dengue.” A vaccine that would benefit a hyperendemic population like our own exists. With an internationally-approved vaccine, patients in the Philippines should be allowed the choice of getting immunized,” said PAPO President Girlie Lorenzo. The DoH, through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), revoked the product license of Sanofi Pasteur for the distribution and use of Dengvaxia last December 2018. Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III has previously said that using Dengvaxia for prevention is not advisable in an epidemic situation, noting that the vaccine is only meant for those who have had dengue in the past. The DoH announced earlier this month a national dengue epidemic with 10 out of 17 regions reaching the epidemic threshold. DoH data show more than 188,000 dengue cases from January 1 to August 3 this year. In PAPO’s Manifesto on Patient’s Right to Information and Access to Medicines, the group cautioned others “not to politicize the issue because majority of those who are dying (from dengue) are children.” PAPO also cited that the DoH has said that children aged five to nine years old are more prone to the disease. The World Health Organization said the Dengvaxia vaccine is advisable to use on patients aged nine to 45 years old. — Gillian M. Cortez

OSG wants to be legal counsel of police in sedition case

THE OFFICE of the Solicitor General (OSG) has asked the Department of Justice to be allowed to serve as the legal counsel of the police in the preliminary investigation on the sedition complaint it filed last month against Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo and 35 others. The comment of the OSG comes after the motions of several respondents, including three former opposition senatorial bets — Jose Manuel I. Diokno, Lorenzo R. Tañada III, and former Magdalo Representative Gary C. Alejano — and former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore O. Te, among others. In its 23-page comment, the OSG maintained that it is within its mandate to represent the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group under Executive Order No. 292, which states that it shall represent the government in any proceeding or investigation. “The gravity and seriousness of the offense/s, not to mention the personalities involved of plotting to topple the duly constituted government and overthrow its duly elected President will essentially and necessarily affects the general welfare,” the OSG said. It also asked that the prosecution panel formed by the Justice secretary be upheld. The PNP-CIDG in July filed a complaint of sedition, inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Ms. Robredo and 35 others allegedly involved in a plot to unseat President Rodrigo R. Duterte. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas