Press Release | 28 December 2020
In response to reports of alleged distribution of expired RT-PCR test kits by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to Baguio City, the Department of Health (DOH) and RITM clarifies that based on delivery records and documents, no expired testing kits were released to any laboratory.
Moreover, the DOH emphasizes that unlike medicines which have a shelf life of 3-5 years, testing kits have a significantly shorter shelf life of 6 months from the date of manufacturing.
Test kits are fast-moving stock that have to be utilized immediately, considering that shipment and other laboratory processes already take up part of their already short shelf life. Additionally, machine compatibility, technical issues, low testing referral count, and availability of supplies also contribute to low consumption of the COVID-19 test kits which in turn increase likelihood of expiry before use.
Recognizing the importance of agile stock management for our testing laboratories, the COVID-19 Laboratory Network Project Management Unit (PMU) was created, and a new Information Management System has been launched. The PMU is now developing a more efficient and focused logistics process, while ensuring uninterrupted supply of COVID-19 test kits.