Senator Panfilo Lacson smelled something fishy as he took note of the sharp differences in the prices of Sinovac in the country and other states.
In a statement, Lacson noted that the Chinese-made vaccine only costs $5 or around P420 per dose based on a news article on Bangkok Post dated 16 January 2021 while in the Philippines the same vaccine costs up to $38 or P1,800 per dose.
Lacson recalled that during the budget deliberations last year, the Department of Health has provided the Senate Committee of Finance figures of the cost of different vaccine brands where two doses of Sinovac vaccines will cost P3,629.50.
“The difference in prices of Sinovac vaccine at US$5, US$14, and US$38 reminds me of an old story about how corruption is committed in three Southeast Asian countries – UNDER the table, ON the table, and INCLUDING the table,” Lacson said on his Twitter account.
“Here, it may cost $38.50 (P1,847.25) per dose but is covered by a Confidentiality Disclosure Agreement,” he added.
But Malacañang on Sunday said COVID-19 vaccines from China’s Sinovac Biotech will be priced at around P650, contrary to the reports that it will be sold in the country for P3,500 per dosage.
Following this development, Lacson said the Senate has done its part in saving billions of government funds for the vaccine rollout.
“If it’s true that government is now dropping the price of Sinovac vaccine from P1,847.25 per dose to only P650, the Senate has probably done our share to save our people billions of pesos in the country’s vaccination program. Netizens can pat themselves on the back,” he said on his Twitter account.
Lacson reiterated the government officials’ preference for Sinovac in the country’s vaccine rollout, adding that this “fuels speculations” that corruption may be involved in the government negotiations.
This after vaccine czar and National Task Force on COVID-19 response chief implementer admitted that he was dealing with a Hong Kong-based executive of Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac.
“May track record sila nanunuhol. Bakit doon tayo nagpupumilit makikipagusap?” Lacson noted in a previous radio interview.
“Considering all these, can we blame the lawmakers and even our countrymen why they express suspicion in the government’s vaccination program?” Lacson added.
On Saturday, Lacson said the Senate may call for another hearing on the government’s vaccine rollout should there be questions that are yet to be answered.
This was backed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Francis Pangilinan.