Senators ask Pharmally execs why it sold products at higher price to the gov't

Published October 19, 2021, 5:12 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senators on Tuesday grilled Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation officials why they sold medical supplies to the government at a higher price when their items under its price catalog are at a lower cost.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, during the continuation of the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing into the government’s expenditures related COVID-19 pandemic, quizzed Pharmally’s corporate secretary Mohit Dargani why they offered a different prices of their products to the government at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hontiveros, in her presentation, showed that Pharmally’s contract with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Philippine National Railways dated April 16, 2020 showed that for the supply of infrared thermometers, goggles and face shields, Pharmally gave DOTr a quotation in the following price rates: infrared thermometers at P3,200 each; goggles, P212.50 each; and face shields at P179.20 each.

In another price catalog prepared by Pharmally and distributed to private individuals, Hontiveros noted that the prices were much lower than those sold to the DOTr with the price of infrared thermometers only ranging from– P1,999-P2,200; goggles – P149-P159; and face shields – P95-P109.

Dargani confirmed Hontiveros’ presentation but reasoned out that the contract was perfected in April 2020, while the price catalog was released a month later.

But Hontiveros showed Dargani that the receipt and the catalog were for the same month, April 2020.

“Ito pong items sa catalog or sa price list po mismo, niretrieve (The items in the catalog or price list itself was retrieved) circa May 2020. So around that time, April and May, na you contracted those two contracts with DOTr-PNR,” Hontiveros pointed out.

“So kumbaga magka-contemporary ‘yong price list niyo, saka ‘yong (and the) purchase order with the selling price niyo sa DOTr-PNR, pero malayo ang presyo (but the prices are very different). Ironically, mas mahal ang presyo na siningil niyo sa gobyerno (you charged the government at a higher price),” the senator noted.

Hontiveros said this shows that Pharmally was offering supplies and prices grossly disadvantageous to the government at a time of a pandemic.

“Habang hirap na hirap ‘yong mga frontliners, iniisip pa ng Pharmally, iniisip niyo kumita (while our frontliners are having a hard time, Pharmally is still thinking of earnings)?” Hontiveros asked.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon interjected saying the receipt and catalog presented by Hontiveros already shows the glaring example of how Pharmally overpriced their sales.

Drilon surmised this is the reason why Dargani and his sister refused to submit to the committee the documents subpoenaed by the panel.

“That is why it is very important that we get hold of the support documents or the source documents for the financial statements on cost of sales,” Drilon said.

“That is where we will show, it will be shown, that there is indeed an overpricing. Look at these presented by Senator Hontiveros, it is not denied,” he explained.

The Senate panel has cited for contempt Mohit and his sister Twinkle Dargani, Pharmally president for refusing to comply with the subpoenaed documents.