The Department of Health (DOH) will conduct its of P800 million pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV). Acting Health secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said that the Health department has formed its own internal panel to look into the issue.
The also launched an investigation over DOH’s purchase of the vaccines despite recommendation of several agencies, including World Health Organization (WHO) to buy “cost-effective ones.”
The unit cost of PCV 10 is US$15.40, while that of PCV-13 is US$16.34, or a cost difference of almost $1.00.
Garin said, “Secretary [Enrique] Ona gave clear and direct instructions to create a committee to collate all the documents and come up with the exact chronology of events (on the vaccine procurement). Walang dagdag, walang bawas.”
According to DOH spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy, the DOH panel’s findings will become a part of the official PCV procurement report that Health Secretary Enrique Ona would submit to President Benigno Aquino III before the end of his 30-day leave on Nov. 30.
DOH to cooperate with the NBI
The Health department meanwhile said that it will “fully coordinate and cooperate” with investigation of the NBI. DOH appealed to the public to leave the issue with the investigating authorities.
In a report by , the NBI will summon Ona, Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag and other concerned DOH officials as part of the investigation.
According to reports, Tayag directed the procurement of PVC 10, a kind of vaccine given to children for the prevention of pulmonary diseases like pneumonia, meningitis, sinusitis and bronchitis. However, agencies such as National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management (NCPAM), the Formulary Executive Council (FEC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended PCV 13 on the other hand is also given to children and may also be given to adults.
According to Medline Plus website, “there are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. PCV13 protects against 13 of them. These 13 strains cause most severe infections in children and about half of infections in adults.”
“The Bids and Awards Committee of the DOH has already prepared for the procurement of PCV 13 and they already have the certificate of provisional exemption because that is a requirement but all of a sudden, the stakeholders claimed that Asec. Tayag instead ordered the procurement of PCV 10,” De Lima .