The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, October 1, that it was suspending “acceptance and further deliveries” of face shields from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, as it launched its own probe into the embattled company.
“The DOH has decided to suspend acceptance and further deliveries of face shields from Pharmally pending the conclusion of the investigations in the department,” the DOH said.
“We are aware of the statements made by Pharmally employees about the tampering of the production date on the certificate. Out of prudence and caution, the DOH has decided to suspend the succeeding deliveries to protect the interest and safety of our healthcare workers,” the DOH added.
The DOH said that Pharmally has delivered over 500,000 pieces of face shields. However, it has not yet paid the company due to incomplete deliveries of ordered face shields.
“We are fast-tracking our investigation on the face shields delivered to the DOH and if those are the ones being referred to in the Senate hearing. If the face shields are proven to be tampered with, we would definitely take necessary legal remedies,” Health Undersecretary Charade Mercado-Grande said.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire had said last September 25 that the face shields they had distributed to health workers were in good condition.
‘Does not tolerate tampering’
The DOH said that it would further implement “stringent measures of inspection during delivery to ensure procured supplies are not damaged nor have exceeded their shelf life.”
“The Department also underscored that it does not tolerate practices of tampering with any procured supplies,” the agency added.
Pharmally has been the subject of marathon congressional hearings since August as lawmakers probe the alleged overpriced pandemic procurement from the company.
The government awarded pandemic contracts to Pharmally despite the company being only several months old and having just P625,000 in paid-up capital.
In a past hearing, senators found that former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang acted as financier and guarantor for Pharmally, which got the biggest contracts for the government’s pandemic supplies at P10 billion so far. His name first turned up in the Senate investigation after a 2017 video showed him introducing Pharmally officials to Duterte in Davao City.
The President and Malacañang have denied that Yang influenced the award of contracts to Pharmally.
The Duterte government recently tweaked its face shields policy, limiting restrictions on its use to situations where people are in a closed or crowded area, and upon close contact. The Philippines is the only country in the world that required face shields in addition to face masks when outdoors. – Rappler.com