Sunday, February 28, 2021

Googling vaccine price unacceptable – Lacson


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SEN. Panfilo Lacson on Monday said he found the explanation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd that he merely Googled the price of the Sinovac vaccine as “not totally acceptable.”

Sen. Panfilo Lacson. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The senator stressed that he wanted to know who fed the Department of Health (DoH) the unreasonable prices of the vaccine.

“Unverified reports that some shenanigans working behind the scene might have fed the DoH the unreasonably high price of the Sinovac vaccine could lend credence to the attempt to dupe the Filipino taxpayers even during a pandemic,” he said.

Lacson pointed out that as early as Oct. 14, 2020, it was reported that the price of Sinovac vaccine in Indonesia was about P683.

“There is also a price range of P650 to P700 per dose that was relayed to us. This is quite far from the P3,629.50 submitted by the DoH to the Senate Finance committee in December last year for the 2021 budget deliberations,” he said.


“Whatever attempts made at overpricing, if at all, whether deliberate or unintended, may not be acceptable after all,” he added.

During Senate hearings on the government’s coronavirus procurement and immunization program, Duque came under rigorous questioning on why the price of the Sinovac vaccine he was quoting was far too high from the vaccine’s prevailing market price.

He said he got the pricing from Sinovac’s website and other sources.

Lacson said while Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd might have a point in stating the benefits of allowing other countries to get ahead in the vaccination procurement race, the Philippines cannot afford to be too late in the vaccination rollout since it would hurt the economy.

“If we are late in inoculating our people, the economy will suffer. This is amid projections the Philippines will be the last to recover economically from the pandemic,” he stressed.



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