Duterte defends gov’t officials on not disclosing vaccine prices: ‘An industry practice’

 By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Presidential Communications

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night defended the government officials of not giving disclosure on price cap of coronavirus vaccines.

“This is not a mystery. It’s the practice in the industry that the price is hushed up at first,” he said, speaking partly in Filipino, using the phrase “bulung-bulungan muna.”

The government so far secured 25 million vaccine doses from Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac. However, the exact prices were not mentioned due to confidential disclosure agreement signed with the Chinese company.

Duterte emphasized the government was firm to keep the rate as confidential, as other countries that bought the vaccine brand might feel the purchase was unfair.

“The prices are not the same. [But] they want the prices to be close to each other,” the president said.

He even cited a newspaper report on Malaysia’s supposed failure to follow the CDA which put the vaccine deal in peril.

The vaccine’s cost only ranges between P650 to P700 per dose, according to Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

Lawmakers earlier questioned the Sinovac’s efficacy rate and price, with both Congress chambers conducting probes into the government’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

But Duterte advised Galvez to remain and stick to his “gameplan.

“Nevermind about the investigations because it will delay us more,” Duterte told the former military chief.

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