By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Health is flexing its muscles to scrutinize and iron out a measure, seeking to transfer the regulatory powers of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on traditional and complementary medicines to the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC).
The House panel, chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina Tan, formed a technical working group (TWG) to study and finalize House Bill 7950 “to empower” the PITAHC.
The TWG will be headed by Batangas Rep. Mario Vittorio Mariño, vice chairman of the House panel.
HB 7950 seeks to change the name of the institute from PITACH to the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Complementary Health Care (PITCHC).
“This bill is primarily designed to attain the ultimate goal of providing the people with a wider range of quality, safe, effective and cost-efficient health products and services by enabling the State more to meet head-on the challenges besetting the Traditional and Alternative Health Care Industry,” ABONO Rep. Conrado Estrella III, author of the measure, said.
PITAHC Director General Annabelle Pabiona-de Guzman rallied behind the immediate passage of the bill.
“FDA wishes to express its appreciation for the mutual pursuit in ensuring safe, effective, and quality products, ultimately for the protection of the public health,” FDA’s Center for Drug Regulation and Research Officer-in-Charge Melody Zamudio, for her part said.
Estrella said that since FDA had a wide product jurisdiction, its regulatory powers on traditional and complementary medicines should be transferred to the PITAHC.
“I feel that the subject matter about the TCMs [traditional and complementary medicines], it is about time that we take this seriously because more and more doctors and hospitals are combining these for the treatment of our citizens. And this is going to grow. It is going to be a growing industry in the future,” he said.
“There should be a comprehensive coverage when it comes to the TCMs. It is PITAHC who is really into this, and they are more capable of doing this…This is bound to grow bigger than what we expected. This can even boost medical tourism, of course, if taken seriously,” he said.