Drilon hits DBM for purchasing overpriced medical supplies

Published September 14, 2020, 4:13 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon scored the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Monday for purchasing various medical supplies that costs higher than those procured by the private sector.

Senator Franklin Drilon
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Drilon said the DBM Procurement Service (DBM-PS) should have exercised due diligence in procuring medical supplies which he noted are higher compared to the prices in the private sector and avoid wasting taxpayers’ money.

“There are a number of procurements done by the DBM-PS and based on our research, the prices were higher compared to the prices in the private sector,” Drilon said during the Senate Committee on Finance’s hearing on the budget of the DBM and its attached agencies.

“From the three awards that we have studied alone, we could estimate that the total price was jacked up by almost half a billion,” Drilon said.

The Senate Minority Leader said the government could have saved around P422 million in taxpayers’ money if DBM exercised due diligence.

For instance, he said, the DBM procurement from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. of 2,000 units of COVID-19 test kits for P688 million or P344,000 per kit is overpriced by P208 million since these could be bought for P240,000 per kit or for a total of P480 million for 2,000 units.

He also said the purchase of macherey nagel/nucleospin RNA virus preps kit from Lifeline Diagnostic Supplies Inc. is also bloated as the DBM bought the kits at P108,304 each or a total of P73.1 million for 675 units when the private sector could buy it for only P47,199 each.

The overpriced amount, per Drilon’s computation, is at P41.245 million since the contract could have just amounted to P31.9 million for the 675 units.

He also cited as overpriced the procurement of Universal Transport Medium and the naso-pharyngeal swab, which the Department of Health (DoH) bought from Biosite Medical Instruments for P415.638 million 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.

He urged the DBM to look into the matter closely, saying that overpricing is a ground to cancel the contracts. He also said the company may also be held liable to refund the excess.