QC gov't eyes contract termination with pharma company for vaccination booking service snafu

Published June 16, 2021, 1:05 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The local government of Quezon City is “seriously considering terminating” its contract with a pharmaceutical company that offers online medical consultation and vaccination booking in the city, following complaints of “total or partial technical difficulties” from residents who used the service.

In a statement released Wednesday, the city government said it is mulling to file charges against the company for the damages and “for failure to meet its contractual obligation.”

Mayor Joy Belmonte said “the sacrifices and efforts” of the city’s medical frontliners and residents “are being compromised by this inefficient system” as the company “committed a seamless service but they failed repeatedly.”

Some QC residents, who were booking vaccination appointments using Zuellig Pharma Corporation’s eZConsult website, experienced difficulty using the service and ended up not being able to sign up and get a schedule.

On Friday last week, the local government issued an apology on behalf of the company “for the failure of the eZConsult website to deal with the surge of registration and booking for COVID-19 vaccination.”

“Our QCitizens (residents) deserve nothing but the best service, We have improved our system in vaccination centers where people no longer have to fall in line and be vaccinated in 30 minutes, kahit virtual pila wala sa (that even virtual lines won’t exist in) QC as long as vaccine supply is stable and yet, eZConsult is putting all our efforts down the drain,” Belmonte said in her strongly worded statement.

The mayor also said they might be left with no choice “but to find another company that can do the job quickly and efficiently” if they fail to comply with the ultimatum the local government issued.

“If there would be no significant improvement, we would initiate contract termination proceedings and file appropriate charges against them as deemed appropriate by our city legal counsel to enforce and protect our rights and the interest of QCitizens,” she added.

City Lawyer Orlando Casimiro, who already reached out to the company through correspondence, said he already asked for liquidated damages in connection with the technical failures of eZConsult.

He added that they consider pressing civil and criminal cases against the company “for the full protection and enforcement of the Quezon City Government’s rights and interests.”

Manila Bulletin is still trying to reach out to Zuellig Pharma Corporation for their comment regarding the local government’s move.