Probe on into ‘overpriced’ med supplies, equipment – Duque
MANILA, Philippines — A joint investigation of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) into the procurement of alleged “overpriced” medical equipment and supplies is now underway, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
During Tuesday’s Senate health panel hearing, Duque told senators that the DOH’s legal services office have collated “initial documents” needed for the said investigation.
“Ito po ay pagpupulungan ng atin pong legal services office at ng PS-DBM (Procurement Services-DBM) para ma-reconcile po ang mga numero o mga amounts or figures that have been submitted from the side of the DOH, from the procurement supply chain management office, from the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) and the endorsed documents for procurement by the PS-DBM,” the health chief said.
(This will be discussed by the DOH’s legal services office and the PS-DBM to reconcile the numbers or he amounts or figures that have been submitted from the side of the DOH, from the procurement supply chain management office, from the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) and the endorsed documents for procurement by the PS-DBM).
“So yun pong mga dokumentong ito ay isinasaayos na po at hindi po magtatagal magkakaron na po tayo ng result ng atin pong joint investigation with PS-DBM,” he added.
(So those documents are being readied and soon, we will have the result of our joint investigation with PS-DBM).
It was Senator Panfilo Lacson who earlier flagged what he said were “grossly overpriced” medical supplies purchased by the government for the DOH in relation to its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lacson, in a Senate hearing last week, promptly quizzed Duque about it, presenting a comparison of the cost of supplies procured by the private sector to items bought by the government.
For example, the senator said that the Sansure Natch CS Fully Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction System purchased by the private sector for Project ARK (anti-body rapid test kits) were worth only P1.75 million per unit while the ones purchased by the government, the Thermo Scientific King Fisher Flex Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction Machine, amounted to P4 million per unit.
Lacson also questioned the price of the government-procured swabbing system, which amounted to $32 dollars each, compared with the ones acquired by the private sector, which was able to buy the same for only $16.
But on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte defended the DOH, and said it was him who ordered Duque to speed up the procurement of the needed medical supplies regardless of the cost.
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