Lacson: Until when will COVID-19 vaccine prices remain confidential?


Posted at Jan 19 2021 11:24 AM

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MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday pressed government officials regarding the disclosure of prices of COVID-19 vaccines, asking until when the information must remain confidential.

He said according to Sen. Franklin Drilon, a term sheet "is already a public document."

"Ok, fine, if you don’t want to divulge. But the question is up to what point could they hold on or not disclose the prices of the vaccines?" Lacson told ANC's Headstart.

"Once they sign the public or the supply purchase agreement and deliveries shall have been made, and then COA will now come in, we will know the prices," he said.

Officials, such as vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez and Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, have said details of the COVID-19 vaccine orders the Philippines made must remain confidential under the terms agreed upon.

However, Lacson pointed out that it will have to be revealed at some point as procurement involves public funds.

"Pag may supply contract, pag bumili tayo, public monies ang gagamitin. Kailangang malaman natin kasi nasa Konstitusyon nga na 'yung information should be given to our people especially when public funds are involved," he said.

(When there's a supply contract, when we buy, we will use public monies. We have to know because it is in the Constitution that information must be given to the people, especially when public funds are involved.)

In an interview on Monday, Galvez said he could not disclose the price of COVID-19 vaccines during the Senate hearing because government is bound by confidentiality agreements with the pharmaceutical companies.

Sec. Vince Dizon, testing czar and deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19, said government will disclose the price of the vaccines it procured after negotiations are done.

There has been public clamor for full transparency on the prices of the drug as there had been news reports that other countries paid less for Sinovac vaccines compared to the initially reported P3,629 cost in the Philippines.

Officials later said each dose of the China-made vaccine is only around P650, with Galvez also claiming that the P3,629 price tag is for the Sinopharm drug.

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