DOH says no expired COVID-19 test kits were released
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Monday denied having distributed expired COVID-19 test kits to any laboratory in the country.
In a statement, the DOH and RITM said they did not release expired testing kits to any testing center, based on delivery records and documents.
The DOH issued the statement after Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong claimed that a private diagnostic center in the city received 50,000 RT-PCR test kits from the RITM in October, but most of these were expiring soon.
“In response to reports of alleged distribution of expired RT-PCR test kits by the RITM to Baguio City, the DOH and RITM clarify that based on delivery records and documents, no expired testing kits were released to any laboratory,” the DOH said.
The DOH, however, pointed out that testing kits have a shelf life of six months from the date of manufacturing, which is a shorter period compared to medicines that have three to five years of shelf life.
“Test kits are fast-moving stock that have to be utilized immediately, considering that shipment and other laboratory processes already take up part of their already short shelf life,” the health department said.
It added that “machine compatibility, technical issues, low testing referral count, and availability of supplies also contribute to low consumption of the COVID-19 test kits which in turn increase the likelihood of expiry before use.”
The DOH said the COVID-19 Laboratory Network Project Management Unit and a new Information Management System was created and launched to address stock management in laboratories.
“The PMU is now developing a more efficient and focused logistics process while ensuring uninterrupted supply of COVID-19 test kits,” it added.
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