Cayetano: SC ruling on FDA’s regulatory power over tobacco products a ‘major victory’ for future generations

Senator Pia Cayetano has lauded the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the validity of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) power to regulate cigarette and tobacco products, saying such decision is a major victory for public health and future generations.

Sen. Pia S. Cayetano went to the Supreme Court to file her motion to intervene in the DOH and FDA case to uphold the FDA Law of 2009 against the Philippine Tobacco Institute. (File photo: April 11, 2013) Photo: O/S Sen. Pia Cayetano

It was Cayetano who sponsored and defended the FDA Act of 2009 or Republic Act 9711 which mandates the FDA to regulate all products affecting health, including cigarettes and tobacco.

The tobacco industry had rejected the FDA’s authority and went to court to prevent the FDA from regulating them.

Cayetano and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon became the intervenors in the SC case. The decision was issued on July 21, 2021 and promulgated last June 7, 2022.

“This is a major victory for our people and advocates for tobacco control and public health,” Cayetano said in a statement.

“The health hazards of tobacco cannot be denied, and are backed by strong medical evidence. It is common sense that these products be subjected to strict regulation by a competent health authority,” the senator stressed.

Though it took them 13 years before they won the case, Cayetano said she is optimistic that the victory would remind them to “keep fighting the good fight.”

“This triumph wouldn't have happened without the guidance and support of my fellow health advocates, including the late health secretary, Dr. Quasi Romualdez,” she said.

Cayetano said she hopes that the incoming Marcos administration would continue the reforms seeking to strengthen the country’s health systems.

“It is my hope that the incoming administration will continue to strengthen our health systems, and ensure that all harmful and potentially harmful products that should fall under the ambit of FDA's authority are duly regulated to safeguard public health,” she said.