PRRD rants against big pharma seeking advance payments for COVID-19 vaccine

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President Rodrigo Duterte during his arrival after his working visit to Russia at NAIA on Wednesday. photo by Jansen Romero

President Rodrigo Duterte launched a tirade against pharmaceutical companies which are asking advance payment for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines being developed by them.

“One thing wrong about Western countries is it is all about profit,” Duterte said during his taped address on Monday.

Duterte also noted that under the Philippines’ procurement law, the government cannot buy products which are not yet on the market or yet to be produced. He is pertaining to Republic Act No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Kung sabihin mo na, sige wala pa ‘yung vaccine (If we say that there is still no vaccine yet), there is nothing with finality and you want us to make the reservation by depositing money, you must be crazy,” he said.

Given this, Duterte said that he would still prefers to buy COVID-19 vaccines made from China and Russia.

“If the vaccine of Russia and China are equally good and effective just like any other vaccine invented by any country, I will buy first.”

Last week, the Department of Health reported that the World Health Organization-led solidarity trials on potential coronavirus vaccines in the country may start by the end of October.