DOH had no choice but to buy test kits with a six-month shelf life – FDA chief | Inquirer News

DOH had no choice but to buy test kits with a six-month shelf life – FDA chief

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 07:13 AM September 23, 2021

Photo: FDA Director-General Eric Domingo presents data on adverse events following immunization during a virtual media forum on Thursday. Photo courtesy: screenshot from media forum

FDA Director-General Eric Domingo 

MANILA, Philippines — All COVID-19 test kits available in 2020 had a shelf life of six months, Director-General Eric Domingo of the Food and Drug Administration said in the second taped briefing of the week with President Rodrigo Duterte that started airing late Wednesday night.

Domingo made the clarification after the Senate blue ribbon committee questioned in a hearing why the Department of Health (DOH) bought test kits that would expire in just six months.


The DOH bought the test kits through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).


READ: PS-DBM grilled over P5-B testing kits that did not meet required specs

The six-month expiration date of the kits was way below the required 24 to 36 months from the date of delivery,

According to Domingo, however, all the test kits available at the time DOH made the procurement kits had only a six-month shelf life, explaining that the first test kits made commercially available in the country arrived only in March last year.

“That means that the test kit for  RT-PCR for COVID-19 has very new technology,” Domingo said in Filipino.

“So if the technology is newly-developed, we only learn its shelf life after it has been manufactured for a long time,” he said.

Domingo said that this was the reason why all test kits during that time were “near-expiry.”


“It’s not only the DOH [that it happened]. For all private laboratories and RT-PCR laboratories, the only test kits that can be bought back then had a shelf life of six months,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the DOH earlier confirmed that 7,925 kits, which would have been enough for 371,794 COVID-19 tests, expired without being used.

At the Senate hearing, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said that the text kits were bought for P69,500 each, which means a total of P550 million were lost.

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READ: ‘Gravity of waste’: Nearly P2B lost due to near-expiry, expired test kits — Pangilinan


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