Law needed for DOH to conduct clinical studies on medical marijuana

Published January 16, 2019, 7:36 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Department of Health (DOH) said that there is no full-blown study yet on medical marijuana in the Philippines due to the absence of a law that lists it as a registrable product with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo made the statement after House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo admitted to having used medical marijuana while abroad to deal with the pain from her cervical spine problem.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Domingo said that while several agencies are studying marijuana as an alternative medicine, the government cannot conduct a full-blown clinical study as there is no law which registers it with the FDA.

“We cannot go full blast into studying the actual product kasi (because) it is not listed as registrable product with FDA at this time. Walang batas (There is no law) listing it as a registrable product,” he said Wednesday.

“Hindi rin naman ang gobyerno maarning gumastos ng pera para mag-research sa isang produkto na hindi naman pwedeng irehistro sa Pilipinas (The government also cannot spend money for a research on a product that cannot be registered in the Philippines),” he added.

“At this time, I think FDA will have to wait for an enabling law that will allow it to be a registrable product before we can actually consider pouring resources into clinical researches for it,” he continued.

Arroyo made the remark early this week as she expressed support to the bill seeking to legalize the use of medical marijuana in the Philippines.

Last month, Malacañang said that President Duterte will support any bill that will seek the legalization of medical marijuana.

Talks on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes resurfaced after Miss Universe Catriona Gray was asked about her opinion on the legalization of the substance during the pageant’s question and answer portion.

According to Gray, she agrees on legalizing marijuana for medical use but not so for recreational use. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)