Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. insisted Tuesday that the public has the right to know about the details of all the agreements being negotiated by the national government with different manufacturers for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Ang sinusunod po natin na alituntunin, ng ating pamahalaan, sa lahat ng ating mga transaksiyon lalo na sa pag-angkat ng bakuna ay ang prinsipyo ng transparency at accountability. May karapatan po ang lahat ng mamamayan na malaman ang mga detalye ng mga transaksyon na ipinapatupad at pinapasukan ng pamahalaan (Our national government is following the principle of transparency and accountability in all our transactions especially in importing vaccines. The public has every right to be informed about the details of the transactions being implemented and entered into by the administration),” Galvez said in a “Laging Handa” press briefing.
The vaccine czar made the statement as he addressed criticisms about his initial refusal to disclose the details of some vaccine negotiations, including the price of some brands, saying that all the deals by the government with different manufacturers are bound by a confidentiality disclosure agreement (CDA).
“Sa panig ng negosasyon ng bakuna, ipinapatupad po sa buong mundo ang pagpirma ng CDA para protektahan ang mga bagay na makasisira sa interes ng vaccine manufaturer at ng ating bansa (In the negotiation [for the procurement] of the vaccines, the signing of a CDA is being observed around the world to prevent issues which can destroy the interest of the vaccine manufacturers and our country),” Galvez said.
He cited an article from Malaysian news outlet, New Straits Times, which said that breaking the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or CDA “can lead to the cancellation of vaccine delivery.”
“Maaari pong mawala ang 148 million doses ng vaccines kapag lumabag tayo sa CDA (We might lose all the 148 million doses of vaccines if we violate the CDA),” he said.
Citing the article, Galvez said the NDA or CDA includes “protecting medical trade secrets, special prices given to any particular country, timeline of the vaccine, ay party involved in recommending or guaranteeing the deal, or any other special arrangements.”
Galvez said that the details of the negotiations, including the prices, will be made public once they are finalized and if “both parties agree to disclose it.”
With this, Galvez assured that the national government has the public interest in mind as it tries to secure 148 to 170 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate 70 million Filipinos this year.
“We will always try to negotiate for vaccines that are safe, effective, and cost efficient. Wala pong korapsyon sa pagbili ng ating mga bakuna (There is no corruption in the procurement of our vaccines),” he stressed.