Issue of January 6, 2019

71th Courier Anniversary Issue
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DTI, DOH streamline FDA okay for MSME
by DTI release

The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health launched a six-month pilot program for micro enterprises to fast-track the process of getting permits from the Food and Drug Authority.

Even as the program focuses on businesses producing low-risk food products with assets of not more than P3 million, the FDA is set to launch an online portal to further simplify FDA applications.

“This is a product of close and strong collaborations between the DTI and DOH. We employ a whole-of-government approach to achieve President Rodrigo Duterte’s goal of helping micro enterprises. These people chose to change the course of their lives through starting a business. Hence, we need to lessen their hurdles in growing their business and mainstreaming their products,” said DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez.

Lopez, DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III, DOH Usec. Rolando Enrique Domingo, and FDA Director-General Nela Charade Puno signed a memorandum of understanding on Dec. 21, 2018 to launch the program.

Beginning this month, the FDA will deploy representatives in all DTI Negosyo Centers in the National Capital Region to train micro enterprises and pre-assess their applications for Licenses to Operate (LTOs).

Upon passing the pre-assessment, these applications will be forwarded to the FDA, who committed to release the LTOs in 15 days.

Under the program, these micro businesses will also be exempted from getting Certificates of Product Registration (CPRs).

Low-risk products, as listed in the FDA Circular 2016-014 include fats, oils, and fat emulsions; processed fruits, vegetable and edible fungi, seaweed, and nuts and seeds; confectionery; cereal-based products; processed meat and meat products, including poultry; bakery wares and bakery-related products; sweeteners, including honey; salt, spices, soups, sauces, salads, and protein products; beverages; ready-to-eat savories, like potato chips and chicharon.

Duque expressed his appreciation to DTI in being a strategic partner of DOH and FDA.

He also committed to balance ease of doing business with consumer health and safety.

“Ensuring the safety of products by micro enterprises points to DOH’s mandate to protect the consumers most of all. They are the reason we’re doing this,” he said.

After the pilot run, the agencies will evaluate the program’s effectiveness and prepare for a possible rollout in more regions throughout the Philippines.

Puno said that the program aims to first gauge the response of entrepreneurs to this change. This is also part of FDA’s move to be a more agile organization.

She assured that FDA will not be a barrier to trade while continuously upholding public health.

The FDA is also working on an online portal that allows users to fill out forms and pay online. The portal will have training modules to walk applicants through the process of getting FDA permits and licenses.

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