Pharmally official admits firm changed expiration dates for face shields

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — An official of the country’s top medical supplier admitted they changed the expiration dates of face shields procured by the government for health workers during the onset of the pandemic.

“With regards to the changing of the stickers of the items, my response (to this) would be this was a supply concern. I raised this concern to our management and that was the solution that was given to us,“ said Krizle Grace Mago of Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp. during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on Friday.

Mago said the instructions came from management, particularly the firm’s treasurer and secretary Mohit Dargani.

“I believe it was Krizle (who) asked it in our group if this is doable. But if the instruction came from me, it did not come from me,” Dargani told the panel.

Still, Mago stood by her statement and reiterated she “always” follows instructions as an employee. When asked by committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon whether they were swindling the government, she said “I believe so.”

This admission came after Sen. Risa Hontiveros presented a video clip of a witness – supposedly a warehouse employee of Pharmally – making the said claim, adding the dates were changed from 2020 to 2021.

The witness also said the face shields were still repackaged despite being dented and dirty and without them using gloves.

"Maaaring mayroong mga nurse at mga doktor na nagka-COVID at namatay dahil sa substandard na dapat sana'y medical grade na face shields dahil nga pinalitan expiry date at binigay 'yung quality na 'di tama," Sen. Kiko Pangilinan said.

[Translation: There could be nurses and doctors who got COVID and died because of substandard face shields that were supposed to be medical grade since their expiry dates were changed and (frontliners) were given the wrong quality.]

The Senate is currently probing the handling of COVID-19 response funds, which also covers the purchase of supposedly overpriced face masks and face shields.