Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr assured that the vaccine prices the Philippine government is currently negotiating with the vaccine manufacturers are cheaper than the prevailing market price.
“I can assure you that the price of Indonesia and the price of the others will be almost, hindi po nagkakalayo,” Galvez said during the continuation of Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry on the national immunization program.
This was revealed to dispel information circulating online that the Philippines is procuring Sinovac vaccine at Php 3,600, which is significantly higher than the price released by Indonesian government for the same vaccine brand at USD 13.57 or Php 651 for the procurement of 160 million doses.
“I can assure you that in our negotiation, the prices relative to our neighbors are fair and considered the best price,” he added.
The Vaccine Czar explained that the national government cannot disclose yet the actual negotiated price with the vaccine manufacturer as to not hamper the ongoing negotiations as well as harm the deals with other vaccine companies. He committed that all prices will be available to the public in due time.
Vaccines to be procured by the Philippine government are secured through multilateral arrangements with fund managers such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB). According to Galvez, with these fund managers, the country can be assured of more strict and transparent documentation when it comes to procurement.
“We assure the public that it (vaccine procurement) will undergo strict [procedure] considering that all our vaccine procurement will undergo ADB and WB stringent regulatory requirements,” said Galvez.
Volume orders, lower prices
Galvez said the centralized procurement implemented by the national government, which is a prevailing practice in many developing and developed countries, ensures greater access to vaccines at lower prices. Moreover, it guarantees equitable distribution, as well as complies with regulations relative to the use and sale of vaccines among countries.
“Given there is not enough supply yet, the Philippine national government’s approach is to pool national volumes to get a seat at the negotiating table and secure the most number of vaccines at the best prices with our partners in the private sector and the LGUs (local government units),” Galvez explained.
At present, at least 80% of the global vaccines supply have been pre-ordered by the vaccines’ countries of origin. The two percent has been secured under the COVAX Facility, while the remaining 18% is now up for grab by the developing countries such as the Philippines.
The tripartite method, which is a first-of-its-kind deal in the world, will help the country secure its vaccine requirement. It locks-in the orders of the Philippines with pharmaceutical companies whose products are already in the advanced stages of development and have shown promising results.
Under such tripartite agreements, Galvez said the national government tries to get the best price through negotiations with vaccine manufacturers, while the LGUs and companies provide the funding.
A total of 17 million doses have been secured through tripartite agreements forged between LGUs, private companies and the national government with British-Swedish vaccines maker AstraZeneca last Thursday.
The first batch of vaccines consisting of 2.5 million doses purchased by private firms last November 2020 will be delivered in May this year. On the other hand, the 14.5 million doses ordered by 39 LGUs and 300 companies through a tripartite agreement signed on January 14 will arrive in the country by the third or fourth quarter of 2021.
“The government will strive to meet its target of 148 million doses of safe and effective vaccines this year at the earliest possible time,” he added.
According to the Galvez, the government’s “Whole-of-Nation Approach” will ensure that the government will be able to secure safe, effective and sufficient vaccine doses for all Filipinos.
The arrangement will also to “fulfill government’s responsibility to ensure equitable distribution.”