WHO: No complaint filed over DOH vaccines purchase
MANILA, Philippines – The World Health Organization (WHO) in the Philippines denied media reports that it filed a complaint before the Office of the President over vaccines bought by the Department of Health (DOH) in 2012.
"WHO did not file a complaint. WHO has provided assessments to the DOH in response to requests, and these assessments are with the government,” the agency said in a statement Friday, November 21.
The procurement is the subject of an ongoing National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) probe which stemmed from complaints from "certain sectors" who went straight to the Office of the President.
The NBI began investigating in June the procurement of one million units of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine 10 (PCV 10) – a vaccine used for the immunization of infants and children against pulmonary diseases – worth over P833 million.
Complainants alleged that DOH procured PCV 10 vaccines instead of a "more cost-effective" vaccine, the PCV 13.
They also said the purchase was made "contrary to the recommendation of the National Center for Pharmaceutical Access and Management (NCPAM), the Formulary Executive Council (FEC) and the World Health Organization."
On Friday, WHO said the NBI probe is a concern of the Philippine government.
"WHO Philippines does not comment on any government investigation,” the statement read.
President Benigno Aquino III had earlier said he has asked Health Secretary Enrique Ona to go on leave to "prepare answers" to his questions on the government's vaccination campaign, and the balance between preventive and curative aspects of public health.
Aquino had said that his satisfaction with Ona's performance would depend on how well he explains his side on the vaccination controversy against him. (READ: Still satisfied with Ona? Aquino mum)
Before going on leave, Ona created an independent body to look into these allegations. He is expected to be back on November 28. (READ: DOH vows to cooperate with NBI on vaccine probe) – Rappler.com