Lawmaker urges COA to check prices of purchased vaccines | Inquirer News

Lawmaker urges COA to check prices of purchased vaccines

/ 05:38 AM August 28, 2021
COVID-19 vaccines


Despite the confidentiality clauses on vaccine agreements, a lawmaker has urged the Commission on Audit (COA) to check the prices of the COVID-19 vaccines that the government purchased for the inoculation drive.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman made the call after Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III cited the confidentiality provision imposed by suppliers; otherwise, the vaccines will not be sold to the country.


Dominguez reiterated the nondisclosure agreement during a House appropriations panel hearing on Thursday on the P5-trillion proposed national budget for 2022.

“Secret pricing of vaccines defies the oversight function of the Congress and mocks the congressional power of appropriation,” Lagman said.


He then appealed to the COA to investigate “how much the concerned government agencies are buying the various COVID-19 vaccines for.”

“More than deficiencies and neglect, the COA may find corrupt transactions of overpricing and huge commissions shrouded in cavalier claims of secret price tags,” he said.

Lagman decried how expenditures in the purchase of vaccines cannot be validated, adding that “additional funds cannot be appropriated without the most critical data on the specific prices negotiated by the government.”

In the 2022 National Expenditure Program, the Department of Budget and Management earmarked P45.47 billion for COVID-19 booster shots, but under unprogrammed funds.

Lawmakers also questioned this move not to place it under programmed expenses with guaranteed funding.

“Accountability and transparency in government transactions, like the purchase of vaccines amounting to billions of pesos, demand a full disclosure of the detailed prices paid by the government,” Lagman said.

He added: “Why can’t the Duterte administration disclose the prices involved when private sector entities openly reveal the amounts they have paid for their separate vaccine purchases?”

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TAGS: Edcel Lagman, Health, House, Vaccination, vaccine, vaccine prices
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