DOH denies buying 'near expiry' COVID-19 test kits

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) — The COVID-19 test kits that the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) bought for the Department of Health last year were not nearly expired, the agency said Saturday.

“The COVID-19 RT-PCR test kits with six months shelf life are not near expiry, as that was the standard shelf life of those novel diagnostic test kits at the time,” DOH Undersecretary Charade Mercado-Grande said in a statement.

"The DOH acknowledged that these products have a short shelf-life and accepted the deliveries with this limitation," it said.

The department made the statement after Senator Kiko Pangilinan questioned the procurement of test kits worth ₱600 million with a life span shorter than the specification provided by the DOH.

The PS-DBM was told to buy RT-PCR test kits that will last for 12 to 24 months. But the DOH said the specification it gave was based on similar procurements prior to the pandemic.

The DOH added it only purchased test kits that were at par with World Health Organization's standards and passed the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine's evaluation.