FDA eases rules to expedite Customs release of imported respirators, other medical devices

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has relaxed its rules to expedite the release of imported respirators, ventilators and other medical devices which are essential in responding to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a letter dated March 23 addressed to Bureau of Customs (BOC) Rey Leonardo Guerrero, FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo advised the bureau that importers of ventilators, respirators, and their respective accessories for commercial purposes need only to present copies of their license to operate.

“On the other hand, foreign donations of ventilators, respirators, and their respective accessories to be used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients need not require FDA clearance prior to customs release,” Domingo said.

“We hope that the measures being introduced would expedite the customs release of ventilators, respirators and their respective accessories which are vital in responding to the threat of COVID-19,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. lauded the FDA’s move.

“No more FDA approval needed. No more excuses to delay release from Customs. Thank you all,” he said in a Twitter message which is accompanied by the FDA letter.

A similar rule for commercial imports and foreign donations of personal protective equipment such as face masks and head covers was also issued by the FDA earlier.

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