DOH issues stand in bid to mitigate impact of med purchase mess
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday that it does not tolerate violations within the agency in light of an investigation into alleged irregularities in the purchase of anti-pneumonia vaccines in 2012.
The “irregular” transaction allegedly involved Health Secretary Enrique Ona and Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag.
“The Department of Health will not tolerate violations, and we continue to respect the rule of law,” the DOH said in a statement.
The government agency assured that it would cooperate with the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation, which are leading the probe.
“The Department of Health will fully coordinate and cooperate with the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation. We appeal to everyone to leave the issue with the investigating authorities,” the statement read.
According to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, DOH allegedly bought Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine 10 (PCV 10) instead of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine 13 (PCV 13), which was recommended by National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management (NCPAM), the Formulatory Executive Council (FEC), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
This change prompted NCPAM, FEC, and WHO to lodge a complaint against the DOH before the Office of the President.
De Lima said that the vaccine procured by the DOH has “limited coverage” rather than the recommended PCV 13.
Ona is currently on leave, citing health reasons.
Despite the investigation, DOH maintained that public health remains their leading priority.
“We assure everyone that public health is foremost in our priorities and that every vaccine-preventable disease will be given proper attention,” the health department said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.