PRC: Foreign docs doing stem cell therapy in PH must get special temporary permits

By: Jet Villa, August 6, 2013 4:34 PM The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Amid a flurry of reports about unregulated procedures that have led to serious injury or even deaths, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) is now requiring foreign doctors wishing to practice stem cell therapy in the Philippines to obtain a special temporary permit (STP).

In a position statement, the Professional Regulatory Board of Medicine (PRBOM) said foreign doctors must submit proof of education, training and clinical experience and actual practice in the field of stem cell therapy, plus a current license to practice authenticated by the Philippine Embassy/Consulate in the country of origin when they apply for the special permits.

The board warned: Any foreign physician who practices the professionwithout a STP will be criminally liable for illegal practice of medicine.And, it added, those who have aided and abetted the foreign physicianspractice of the profession are also criminally liable.

The position paper was signed by PRBOM chairman Dr. Edgardo Fernando and members doctors Miguel Noche Jr., Florentino Doble, Restituto de Ocampo, Jose Cueto Jr., and Mildred Pareja.

Controversy hounds new group

The position statement on stem cell therapy was issued amid a growing rift among doctors over recent controversial cases, including several lawmakers who had procedures done, but whose conditions worsened.

One newly-founded group of doctors doing stem-cell transplant, the Philippine Society of Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM), has been pitted by the controversy against the Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine (PSGIM), Philippine Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (PSHBT) andPhilippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP). The latter groups all believe thatPSSCM's practices are unethical as it charges huge fees from patients for stem cell procedures that are still under clinical trial.

The PRBOM has backed the Department of Health in issuing Administrative Order 2013-0012 providing the guidelines for stem cell, cell-based therapy in the country. "The practice of stem cell therapy does not constitute standard care at the present time. The claim that it offers cure to numerous diseases and conditions has not been proven through scientific research and documentation, the PRBOM said. Right now, it said, "there is difficulty verifying claims of practitioners and institutions regarding the effectivity ofavailable treatment modalities.

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PRC: Foreign docs doing stem cell therapy in PH must get special temporary permits

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