Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pres. Duterte Wants Probe Into Alleged Overpriced COVID-19 Test Kits


President Rodrigo Duterte has sought an investigation into the supposed overpricing in the cost of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (Philhealth) coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) testing package, Malacañang said on Friday.

In a radio interview, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque revealed that Duterte was “alarmed” over the allegedly overpriced test kits being paid by PhilHealth to hospitals and testing centers.

“Bibigyan ko po ng kumpirmasyon na nababahala ang Presidente lalung-lalo doon sa pagkakaiba ng presyo ng testing kit (I’m confirming that the President is alarmed over the difference in prices of testing kits),” Roque said. “So nais po niya ng kasagutan and an investigation (So he wants an explanation and an investigation).”

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, in a Senate hearing held Tuesday, raised the concern that the country might lose over PHP8.3 billion due to alleged overpricing in PhilHealth’s testing package.

Drilon questioned PhilHealth’s payment of PHP8,150 per Covid-19 test, stressing that it is double the price of PHP4,000 per test being done by the Philippine Red Cross.

Drilon also noted that PhilHealth’s cost estimate is more expensive than the PHP1,500 price tag for each Covid-19 test kit in China.

Roque said Duterte could not also understand why the price of test kits that PhilHealth has to pay need to be costly.

“Hindi po nga niya maintindihan gaya ng buong sambayanan kung bakit ganoon kalaki ang discrepancy (He, like the public, could not understand why the discrepancy has to be that huge),” he said.

Drilon warned that there would be a potential overpricing of PHP8.3 billion, should PhilHealth pay around PHP16.3 billion for the Covid-19 testing of two million Filipinos.

PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, in a statement read by Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Friday, said the PHP8,150 per test was “based on data collected before April 1, 2020, when there was very limited testing capacity.”

“To date, no single Covid-19 test has been paid by PhilHealth, except those being performed by the Philippine Red Cross,” Panelo, citing Morales’ statement, said during his commentary show aired Friday on state-run PTV-4.

Morales said the state-run corporation will soon release a new package rate for Covid-19 patients by next week.

“And as more Covid-19 related medicines and medical supplies become more available, the price of testing is going to decline,” Panelo said, quoting Morales. (PNA)

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Spox Roque: DepEd Ready For School Opening In August

Malacañang has expressed confidence that the Department of Education (DepEd) is ready for the scheduled opening of classes on August 24 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Gatchalian: CBMS Law To Correct Inefficiencies In SAP Distribution

Gatchalian urges the government to use the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS) Act to ensure efficient distribution of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

Gov. Defensor Jr.: Iloilo Is Now Preparing For MGCQ

Iloilo Province is already adjusting quarantine guidelines as its general community quarantine (GCQ) will end on May 31.

Mayor Joy To Strictly Implement Order On Wearing Of Face Masks In Public Places

Belmonte: “Dahil face mask ang isa sa pangunahing depensa laban sa COVID-19, paiigtingin natin ang kampanya upang masanay ang lahat na magsuot nito sa mga pampublikong lugar.”

Pres. Duterte Eases Community Quarantine Status

PRRD has placed the rest of the country under modified general community quarantine effective June 1.

Albay Rep. Salceda Proposes 35-Hour Work Scheme

Sang-ayon ka bang bawasan ang work hours?

Pres. Duterte, Vietnam PM Commit To Stronger Ties, Stable Rice Supply

In a telephone conversation requested by the PM, both leaders underscored the importance of maintaining adequate supply of staple food and critical medical equipment to successfully combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Gatchalian: Government Should Implement EVOSS Law Now

Gatchalian assures the Filipinos that he will make sure EVOSS will become a law as it will be very helpful in processing energy-related permits at times like this— when social distancing is essential.

Mayor Magalong: Baguio City’s Successful Contact Tracing Due To ‘Quality Info’

Mayor Magalong reveals how they achieved the successful contract tracing in Baguio City.

DA Sec. Dar Appoints James Reid As Food Security Ambassador

Curious ka rin ba kung bakit si James Reid ang bagong Department of Agriculture ambassador? Sinagot 'yan ni Sec. Dar!