POPCOM lists 23 contraceptives left on the market, most expiring in 2018

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — Three more certificates of contraceptives for women expired in May, leaving only 23 contraceptives left on the market, a list from the Commission on Population (POPCOM) shows.

Minipil, Liza, and Lizonya are among the drugs affected by a Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) that prohibits the Food and Drugs Administration from accepting applications for registration or recertification "for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices."

Related: This might be your last year to access birth control

POPCOM listed 48 contraceptives that were affected by the TRO, which was released in June 2015. Of these, 15 expired in 2016. A total of 14 more contraceptives are expected to expire by the end of the year, and 14 more next year.

Here is the data of affected drugs and contraceptives that POPCOM provided to CNN Philippines via e-mail.

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The last few contraceptives — including two brands of pills, an intrauterine device, and a vaginal ring — are set to expire in 2019, leaving only the Implanon NXT implant on the market.

However, the TRO also prohibits the Department of Health from distributing the implant, although they can be procured over the counter or through non-government organizations until its certificate expiration on November 19, 2020.

Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial previously told CNN Philippines' The Source that the DOH had 400,000 implants, which were unused.

The Supreme Court issued the TRO after pro-life group Alliance for the Family and Foundation (ALFI) argued in court that a total of 77 contraceptives had abortifacient qualities.

The decision was criticized by women's rights advocates and international agencies, including the United Nations Populations Fund. One of the affected drugs, Levonorgestrel, as well as the intrauterine device method, is even endorsed by the World Health Organization.

Other advocates of family planning argue that some pills are not only taken for birth control, but to also regulate menstrual periods or hormonal imbalance in some women. Among those affected are women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition where a woman's hormones are imbalanced and cysts can be formed in their ovaries.

POPCOM previously called on the Supreme Court to lift the TRO in March. The commission also posted a link to Change.org petition on its Facebook page, calling on netizens to "support the call to #LiftTRO on contraceptives by signing."

"The impending absence of contraceptives, especially the cheaper ones, will affect maternal mortality in the country. When this happens, it will be a public health emergency," POPCOM Executive Director Dr. Juan Antonio Perez previously said in a press statement.