Bureau of Food and Drugs

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The Bureau of Food and Drugs is a regulatory agency that ensures the safety, efficacy, purity and quality of processed foods, drugs, diagnostic reagents, medical devices, cosmetics and household hazardous substances through state-of-the art technology, as well as the scientific soundness and truthfulness of product information, for the protection of public health. The Director is Prof. Leticia Barbara B. Gutierrez.



The BFAD is a world-class regulatory agency and center of scientific excellence composed of professionally competent, legally qualified, efficient, and confident staff with unfettered enforcement capabilities.


To ensure the safety, efficacy, purity, and quality of processed foods, drugs, diagnostic reagents, medical devices,cosmetics and household hazardous substances through state-of-the-art technology, as well as the scientific soundness and truthfulness of product information for the protection of public health.


In 1961-62, the late Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque Sr. created a subcommittee on Food and Drugs in order to get Congress to enact a law that would ensure the safety, purity and quality of foods, drugs and cosmetics being made available to the public. The Subcommittee on Food and Drug was chaired by the then Undersecretary for Special Health Services, Dr. Rodolfo Caños, with members Dr. Trinidad Pesigan, Director of the Bureau of Research and Laboratories, Mr. Emilio Espinosa of the Bureau of Health Services, Ms. Amor Cita M. Pallera, Pharmacy Adviser, Office of the Secretary of Health, also as Secretary and Liaison to Congress. On June 22, 1963, Republic Act No. 3720, known as the “Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act”, was passed into law.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was created to carry out the provisions of R.A. 3720. By Virtue of R.A. 3720, the powers, functions and duties of the Division of Food and Drug Testing of the Bureau of Research and Laboratories and the Board of Food Inspection, all personnel together with all their equipment, supplies, records, files and balance of appropriations were transferred to the FDA. Offices and laboratories were constructed in the DOH San Lazaro Compound in Sta. Cruz, Manila. The FDA's first Administrator, Ms. Luzonica M. Pesigan was instated on May 25, 1966 and continued until Dec. 7, 1977. Mr. Emilio Espinosa was Deputy Director. After his retirement, Mr. Arsenio M. Regala took over on June 1, 1972.

With the Integrated Reorganization Plan of 1973, the Narcotic Drugs Division, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Finance was Transferred to the Food and Drug Administration headed by Ms. Conception M. Fernandez. She retired in 1975 and was succeeded by Ms. Rita V. Caoile, and then by Mrs. Catalina C. Sanchez in 1976.

On December 2, 1982, Executive Order No. 851 by Section 4, under the Minister of Health Hon. Jesus M. Azurin, abolished the FDA and created the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD). Mrs. Catalina C. Sanchez was appointed the first Director of the BFAD on Feb. 20, 1984 and took her oath on Feb. 28, 1984.

In 1987, R.A. 3720 was amended by Executive Order 175 to the new title “Foods, Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics Act”. The Bureau moved to its new site in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and acquired new facilities including state-of-the-art analytical instruments and a modern experimental animal laboratory with the $12M grant from the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This new BFAD in Alabang became operational on April 30, 1987.

It was also on the same occasion of the inauguration of this new BFAD facility that Pres. Corazon C. Aquino declared publicly the Philippine National Drug Policy (PNDP) together with its four pillars, i.e., Quality Assurance, Rational Use of Drugs, Self-Reliance, and Tailored Procurement. Based on the issuance of E.O. Nos. 174 and 175 amendments to R.A. 5921 “The Pharmacy Law” and R.A. 3720 “Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act” respectively, the Philippine National Drug Policy was organized. Executive Order No. 851 was superseded by E.O. No. 119 s. 1987 under Hon. Alfredo R. A. Bengzon, Sec. of Health, that again reorganized the BFAD on the basis of Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 30 s. 1987, "Provisions to Implement the Reorganization of the Department of Health".

Executive Order No. 102 was signed on May 24, 1999. It redirected the functions and operations of the Department of Health, with then Hon. Alberto G. Romualdez, Sec. of Health, wherein BFAD was expanded with an added Division -- the Policy, Planning, and Advocacy Division. The joining of the National Drug Policy workforce with that of BFAD in Alabang further strengthened the Bureau to meet new challenges in serving the interests of the Filipino people consistent with the Philippine National Drug Policy and the National Health Policy.

On the retirement of Mrs. Catalina C. Sanchez on Feb. 1, 1989, Dr. Cecile P. Gonzales took over (Feb. 1, 1989 – Jan. 31, 1991), followed by Dr. Quintin L. Kintanar (March 13, 1991 – Jan. 4, 1999); Dr. William D. Torres (January 5,1999 – August 31, 2002), with Deputy Director for Drugs, Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go (June 1, 1999 – June 10, 2001) and the lateral transfer of Mrs. Adelisa Ramos, Director III of the DOH Nutrition Service as Deputy Director for Food pursuant to E.O. 102 (November 6, 2000 – January 2,2005). On September 1, 2002, Prof. Leticia Barbara B. Gutierrez was appointed new Director of the Bureau.




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