Blue Ribbon secures details of COVID-19 vaccine non-disclosure deals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 3) – The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has obtained information on some of the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) signed by the government to procure COVID-19 vaccines, including the amount spent for each shot.

Without going into detail, panel chairman Francis Tolentino said a number of vaccine manufacturers were “very cooperative” during the closed-door executive session where they disclosed the information on Wednesday.

Sinabi na nila yung presyo, sinabi na nila yung volume, ‘yung number ng dineliver nilang doses,” Tolentino said in an online media interview on Friday.

[Translation: They already gave the prices, volumes, and number of doses delivered.]

However, a number of vaccine makers failed to send representatives. Tolentino said the committee is now “constrained to issue a subpoena to force the pharmaceutical companies to be present during the next hearing.”

He said details can be discussed in a public hearing once the vaccine manufacturers give their green light.

During the last hearing in December, officials from the previous and current administration cited the NDAs in their refusal to disclose the prices of vaccines bought by the government, prompting Tolentino to call a closed-door meeting.

He said he wanted to know how much money was spent for the 44 million doses that expired or went to waste since the pandemic struck, as reported by the Department of Health.

Tolentino said during the closed-door meeting, he also cautioned health officials to “slow down” in the purchase of bivalent vaccines to avoid further wastage.

While NDAs are a requirement in the procurement of vaccines, Tolentino urged the government to exempt prices from the deal and seek a shorter period for non-disclosure.

Yung isang nabasa kong NDA, 10 years, which is unfair. Dapat siguro two years, or 2.5 years,” Tolentino said.

[Translation: I read an NDA with a 10-year validity period, which is unfair. I think two years or 2.5 years should suffice.]