DOH probes Pharmally’s face shield tampering; deliveries suspended

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced launching its own probe into Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp’s alleged tampering of face shield manufacturing dates, which was uncovered in a Senate hearing last week. 

This, as it suspended deliveries from the controversial firm, which allegedly had overpriced supplies. 

In a statement, the agency said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III ordered the investigation, just as he sought a thorough screening of transactions they had with Pharmally through the Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (PS-DBM). 

Health Undersecretary Charade Mercado-Grande of the DOH Health Regulation Team said they are already “fast-tracking” the investigation.

The health department said they ordered 500,000 pieces of face shields from Pharmally. 

“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,” Grande said. 

“The DOH assures that prior to sending out any procured items for use by our health care workers, these are duly inspected. Likewise, health facilities have to inspect, count, and verify the items they received from the DOH,” the official added.

The agency will also suspend accepting the deliveries from Pharmally while the probe is ongoing. 

It said it has yet to pay the firm for the purchases as deliveries are still incomplete.

Last week, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said personal protective equipment (PPE) the DOH delivered to “all” of the country’s health workers, which supposedly include the face shields in question, passed inspection. 

“Hindi rin po kami tumatanggap talaga ng may sira, or may discoloration, or nasira na ‘yung foam, hindi na namin ‘yan tinatanggap,” she noted.

(We don’t accept broken face shields or those with discoloration. Once the foam gets destroyed, we no longer accept it.)

A warehouse staff supposedly working for the corporation earlier revealed that they repacked face shields that were already yellowing, folded, wet, old, and even dirty.

These items were meant for the country’s health workers at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also confirmed by Pharmally’s Krizle Grace Mago.

Pharmally, which bagged billions worth of contracts with the government for allegedly overpriced personal protective equipment at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, is facing inquiry at the Senate. 

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