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Overpriced Sinovac justified but Lacson says it’s unacceptable

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The Department of Health’s justification on the alleged overpricing of Sinovac vaccines is unacceptable, said Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday.

In a text message to reporters, Lacson mentioned “unverified reports” claiming that the Department of Health was “fed” with wrong information on the Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccines in an attempt to get profit from government funds.

“Whatever attempts made at overpricing, if at all, whether deliberate or unintended, particularly on the P3,629.50 for two doses of Sinovac vaccine as per the submission of the DOH to the Senate Finance Committee last December compared to the P650-P700 per dose price range or Indonesia’s P683 as of October 14, 2020, may not be acceptable after all,” Lacson said.

“That said, as shared by many senators, I have no reason to doubt [Secretary Carlito] Galvez’s integrity, although some unverified reports that some shenanigans working behind the scene might have fed the DOH the unreasonably high price of the Sinovac vaccine could lend credence to the attempt to dupe the Filipino taxpayers even during a pandemic,” he added.

Last Friday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the prices of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines which they submitted as a reference to the Senate Finance Committee for the budget deliberations were based on a news report they searched through Google.

Earlier, Lacson and other senators repeatedly call on Galvez to fully disclose the prices of vaccines being negotiated by the national government.

Lacson earlier mentioned the possibility of “overpricing” on the part of the Philippine government as he noted the sharp differences between the Sinovac’s cost in the country as compared to other Southeast Asian states.

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