The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday maintained that the agency is fully complying with government procurement rules and regulations in the ongoing emergency procurement of 0.5ml vaccine syringes for the government’s National Vaccination Program.

The Department explained that it does not have any ongoing procurement of 0.3ml syringes, as it has already established stop-gap measures to ensure ample supply of ancillaries in view of  the delayed deliveries of the procured supplies.

While it has received an offer for the supply of 0.3ml syringes, the DOH cannot act on such an unsolicited proposal. Nonetheless, it has included the company in its pool of suppliers for the emergency procurement of 0.5ml syringes.

In keeping with RA No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act, the DOH sent out Requests for Quotations (RFQs) to the proponent company and 50 other local suppliers.

The DOH earnestly responded to the queries of the company through its technical staff, who are well-versed in the procurement process for health commodities and are specifically tasked to address queries from suppliers. However, when the company questioned the Approved Budget for Contract (ABC) or the maximum contract price, for being too low, the  Department had to reiterate the provision on Ceiling for Bid Prices of the 2016 Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No.  9184. 

“There seems to be a string of misunderstandings regarding this issue. For one, the DOH is not procuring 0.3ml syringes at the moment, as our CHDs and hospitals have been given funds to procure the available alternative, tuberculin syringes. What we are procuring are 0.5ml syringes, and as part of our pool of suppliers, we invited as many suppliers as we can to get the best price for the government,” explained Secretary of Health Francisco T. Duque III.

“The UNICEF-procured syringes are 0.3ml, and so their price is not comparable to that of 0.5ml syringes. Moreover, DOH was able to procure the 0.5ml syringes last April 2021 at PHP 2.38, and has used such cost for its ABC,” the Health Chief further added.

“We have to follow pertinent rules and regulations, even as we undertake urgent procurements and activities for the pandemic response. We in the DOH have always been and continue to be committed to good governance, a cornerstone of public health,  more so now during this health emergency. Let us not put our health professionals down with baseless accusations,” said Secretary Duque.