Sinopharm local distributor denies smuggling allegations
MANILA, Philippines — A pharmaceutical firm claiming to be the sole distributor of China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine on Friday denied illegally importing the still unapproved vaccine in the Philippines.
Mark Kristopher Tolentino, MKG Universal Drugs Trading Corporation president and chief executive officer, said the firm has not yet imported nor distributed the Sinopharm vaccine in the country.
“We categorically deny all [smuggling] allegations because in the very first place, based on our records, we have never imported or distributed the Sinopharm vaccine to the Philippines yet as of present,” he said during the resumption of the Senate inquiry on the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.
He said the firm had just completed its requirements as a pharmaceutical company, having only registered to the Security Exchange Commission and Bureau of Customs last year and obtained a license to operate from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The pharmaceutical company is in the process of conducting its own probe on the matter, he added.
Tolentino made the denial when Senator Risa Hontiveros asked about the alleged inoculation of some members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s close-in security detail, some members of the military, and the Cabinet.
Duterte himself said that many people in the Philippines have already been injected with Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine.
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