Some pharmaceutical companies are asking the Philippines to pay in advance for vaccines that are still under development to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday.
Duterte slammed the “profit, profit, profit” mindset of Western companies in a televised briefing from Malacañang.
“That’s the one thing that’s wrong with Western companies. Kaya sabi ko we will give preference to Russia and China provided that their vaccine is as good as any other in the market,” Duterte said.
“Kung sabihin mo na, sige wala pa ‘yung vaccine, there is nothing with finality and you want us to make the reservation by depositing money, you must be crazy,” he added.
Duterte said Philippine laws prohibited the government from making advance payments to vaccine manufacturers.
“Bakit ako magbili ng gano’ng style? Because the procurement law of the Philippines, this country, does not allow you to buy something which is non-existent or to be produced as yet,” he said.
The Department of Health earlier said it had earmarked P2.4 billion for the purchase of a COVID-19 vaccine once it is rolled out.
The Department of Finance also said 20 million Filipinos would get the vaccine for free.
The Philippines has logged 265,888 COVID-19 cases as of Monday afternoon, still the highest across Southeast Asia.-NB, GMA News