Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Friday vowed to disclose the specific prices of COVID-19 vaccines and other details of their negotiations with pharmaceutical companies once the supply deals are finalized and signed.
At the resumption of the Senate Committee of the Whole’s inquiry on the government’s immunization program, Galvez maintained that the administration’s negotiations with the vaccine makers “are above-board” and are “free of corruption.”
“Our negotiations with the vaccine makers are based on the guidance by the President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, which are anchored on the principles of transparency and accountability, and we emphasize that he has no tolerance for corruption,” Galvez said.
“We promise to reveal the exact prices and other details of our negotiations in due time as we firm up our agreements,” he added.
Galvez also committed to specifically tell the Senate, even without a committee hearing, the cost of the vaccines developed by Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech.
“Yes, Sir,” he replied after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked if he would be willing to brief the Senate on the prices of Sinovac’s vaccines after the government had inked the supply contract.
He said he will regularly update the senators about their negotiations with the vaccine makers.
The National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer made the assurances after meeting Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Ronald dela Rosa, and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong last Wednesday.
Sotto was satisfied with Galvez’ promise of “utmost transparency” after seeing documents which, he said, require confidentiality.
Galvez, for his part, said he respects the Senate’s oversight functions in the government’s vaccination program and vowed to continue working with the senators in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.