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Kalahating bilyon taga! Drilon calls out DBM for buying ‘overpriced’ COVID-19 test kits

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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon questioned officials of the Department of Budget and Management for buying COVID-19 testing kits that were overpriced by as much as half a billion pesos.

During the Senate committee on finance’s hearing on the DBM’s budget proposal Monday (September 14), Drilon said some of the purchases made by DBM’s procurement service were priced higher compared to what the private sector got.

He mentioned 2,000 units of Covid-19 test kits from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., which DBM bought for P688 million or P344,000 per kit.

Drilon said the purchase is overpriced by P208 million since the said kit could be bought for P240,000 or for a total of P480 million for 2,000 units.

“From the three awards that we have studied alone, we could estimate that the total price was jacked up by almost half a billion. We could have saved around P422 million in taxpayers’ money if we exercised due diligence,” he said.

Drilon said the macherey nagel/nucleospin RNA virus preps kit bought by DBM from Lifeline Diagnostics Supplies, Inc. Was also overpriced at P108,304 each or a total of P73.1 million for 675 units.

Drilon, however, said the private sector could buy it for only P47,199 each. For 675 units, the contract could have just amounted to P31.9 Million as opposed to the procurement price of P73.1 million. The overpricing, per Drilon’s computation, is P41,245 million.

In a separate statement, Drilon also cited as overpriced the procurement of Universal Transport Medium and the naso pharyngeal swab, which the Department of Health bought from Biosite Medical Instruments for P415,638,000 for a total of 1,611,000 sets, or at P258 per set.

Drilon said the purchase could be overpriced by P173 million citing the price of the product in the market at roughly P150 per set.

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