Tue. May 11th, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.dw.com)

There may have been an attempt to overprice the vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) being offered by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

In a privilege speech, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the recent Senate hearings on the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program showed there may have been an attempt to overprice the vaccines offered by Sinovac, which could have resulted in the government losing around P16.8 billion.

“Perhaps if the Senate did not tackle the controversy on Sinovac and assuming the [supposed] original price of P3,629 or $38 per two doses or P1,814 equivalent to $19 per shot was followed, compared to the $5 [price] in Thailand, easily the price difference of 25 million doses would fetch $350 million or P16.8 billion [savings for the government or kickbacks for some people],” Lacson said partly in Filipino.

“That being said, I am not prepared to accuse anyone in particular of corruption. Rather, it defies logic to suspect at least an attempt to overprice the vaccine,” Lacson pointed out.

“Again, when there is an attempt at overpricing, isn’t it also logical to think na may kikita ng limpak-limpak na salapi (that someone will earn huge amount of money [from this vaccine procurement])?” he added.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also said the inconsistencies in the prices of Covid-19 vaccines created suspicions.

“The public is worried that some people may be getting kickbacks from the procurement of vaccines,” he said.

For his part, National Task Force Against Covid-19 and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said “The country’s negotiations with pharmaceutical firms for the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines are fair and square.” SOVEREIGNPH

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