The country’s negotiations with pharmaceutical firms for the acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines are “fair and square”, National Task Force Against Covid-19 and vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Monday.
Galvez said the government makes sure that all the vaccine candidates undergo stringent screening based on the regulatory requirements set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“Sinasabi nga natin noon na talagang napakahirap ng mga (We earlier said that there are) stringent requirements, especially in the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, very reputable po yung mga bangko natin yung fund manager natin (our fund managers are very reputable),” Galvez said in an interview over ANC.
Galvez said there are many honest and reliable public servants in the government.
“We treasure honor [more] than our lives,” he said. “Rest assured that the public will know that the government that we [have], is not corrupt.”
Galvez expressed assurance that no task force member could afford to engage in corrupt practices amid the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Galvez defended the price rate of the Sinovac vaccine, which is among the vaccines that will be delivered in the country in the coming weeks.
“Kaya po pinili namin ang Sinovac kasi mas mura siya ng ‘di hamak sa Sinopharm and kung ang magiging market price natin ay USD26, sa negotiation binabagsak po namin yan. Kapag nagbagsak kami ng presyo, USD7 kaagad ang aming offer (That’s why we chose Sinovac because it is much cheaper than Sinopharm and if our market price will be USD26, then, during the negotiation process, we offer USD7), we will meet in between,” he said.
Galvez refuted claims that Sinovac costs USD36 in the Philippines.
“Kung nabasa niyo po yung price ng India atsaka ng Indonesia talagang in between po nandun yung price natin (If you look at the prices offered in India and Indonesia, the vaccine rate in the country is in between),” he said.
Galvez noted that vaccine rates circulating online are “commercial rates” and not the price negotiated during government-to-government transactions.
The subsidized price of the Covid-19 vaccine per dose under the Covax facility ranges from USD7 and below, according to Galvez.
He said the public should not be confused with the negotiations undertaken with the Covax facility, a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure that vaccines reach those in greatest need.
Galvez clarified that under the Covax facility, vaccine manufacturers could give as much as a 50-percent price lower than the vaccine’s commercial rate.
However, Galvez reiterated that the price list of the vaccines, including Sinovac, cannot be disclosed at the moment, since negotiations are bounded by a so-called confidentiality disclosure agreement (CDA).
Galvez assured that Sinovac’s price in the country is between the price offered by India and Indonesia.
Disclosing the price list could compromise the 148 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine secured by the Philippines from various pharmaceutical companies, he said.
“If I will say the price list, all the [vaccine] manufacturer will withdraw,” he said.
Galvez said once the CDA has been violated, the vaccine manufacturer has the right to withdraw from the contract.
The government should sustain the trust and confidence of vaccine makers by not disclosing critical components of CDA during the negotiations, he said. (PNA)