By Betheena Unite
Medical supplies for fighting the COVID-19 epidemic shall be promptly released from the Bureau of Customs for faster distribution.
As identified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the priority list of imported medical health devices includes ventilators, respirators, and their respective accessories vital in treating patients infected with COVID-19, the Bureau of Customs announced on Thursday, March 26.
Also to be expedited is the release of personal protective equipment (PPEs).
The special order covers other medical supplies that were recently ordered for fast-track delivery since the declaration of the national health emergency.
For ventilators, respirators and their respective accessories which are imported for commercial purposes, importers need only to present copies of their licenses to operate (LTO).
The bureau said that devices that were obtained through foreign donations do not require FDA clearance prior to customs release.
Earlier, the customs bureau said that shipments of essential medical equipment would be allowed entry and release even with a late issuance of FDA permits.
This does not mean, however, that importers would be allowed to distribute the medical items without the required FDA permits, Assistant Customs Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said.
The shipments would be allowed entry without the FDA permits but such permits must be secured before the release of the shipments to the hospitals.