The pricing of COVID-19 vaccines to be procured by the Philippine government remains a “hanging issue” even after the inquiries conducted by the Senate, a member of the chamber said on Monday.
“Most of the concerns have been addressed during the three hearings, especially on the third hearing or after we had this informal hearing with [vaccine czar] Sec. [Carlito] Galvez,” Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.
“Maraming na-resolve na issues (there were a lot of issues resolved) but then one hanging issue is on the prices or the pricing of particularly Sinovac,” he stressed.
China’s Sinovac vaccine has been on the spotlight during the past Senate Committee of the Whole hearings, as officials have refused to disclose its exact cost due to a nondisclosure agreement, sparking concerns from netizens.
During the latest inquiry on Friday, Galvez still did not reveal the negotiated price for the Sinovac doses, but assured that the country is at an “advantage.”
Malacañang earlier said that each dose of the product is priced near ₱650 and won’t exceed ₱700 — a range Lacson confirmed Galvez relayed to him and his colleagues during their closed-door meeting last week.
Despite the issue, the senator hopes the public had been enlightened on some of the other important aspects of the country’s vaccination plans.
“Medyo namulat din and I think assuming that there was an attempt at overpricing – siguro may na-achieve din ‘yung Senado para ma-preempt if ever there was an attempt at overpricing,” he noted.
[Translation: They were also enlightened and I think assuming there that there was an attempt at overpricing, perhaps the Senate achieved something to preempt, if ever there was an attempt at overpricing.]