Duterte slams Western drug makers for being all for ‘profit, profit, profit‘
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night slammed pharmaceutical companies in Western countries for asking advance payment for their yet-to-be-developed COVID-19 vaccines.
“That’s one thing wrong about the Western countries. It’s all profit, profit, profit,” Duterte said.
“That’s one thing wrong with these Western companies. That’s why I said we will give preference to Russia and China — provided that their vaccine is as good as any other in the market,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino.
Duterte did not specify, however, which firms were asking for advance payment for the coronavirus vaccine.
The President then explained that the procurement law would not allow the government to buy a non-existent product or those that had not yet been produced.
“It’s a very exacting law and you must always reckon with, you know, prosecution and going to jail. Why did you pay for something that’s not yet there?” Duterte said.
He added: “If the companies are here, or [ther] representatives, just go home. If not, I’ll kick you when I see wherever. If I happen to have dinner outside and see you somewhere in the hotels, I’ll kick your ass. Bastusin ko kayo. Go back to your country.”
The administration earlier said it was ready to negotiate with several drug manufacturers abroad for the possible purchase of their COVID-19 vaccines.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is planning to conduct Phase 3 of clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccine from October 2020 to March 2021.
The human testing will be funded by the Russian government and will be done simultaneously in Manila and Moscow.
Aside from this, the country has also joined the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), an alliance that aims to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide.
The Philippines is likewise part of the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial for different COVID-19 treatment.
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