The Department of Health (DoH) has suspended the deliveries of face shields from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. while investigating the company’s alleged tampering of anti-virus gears supplied to the government.
Through a statement, the agency announced Saturday that it has been conducting a “comprehensive review” of the government’s procurement transactions with Pharmally, which includes inspection of current stocks of personal protective equipment sourced from the firm.
“We are aware of the statements made by Pharmally employees about the tampering of the production date on the certificate,” said lawyer Mercado-Grande, undersecretary of the health regulation team.
“Out of prudence and caution, the DoH has decided to suspend the succeeding deliveries to protect the interest and safety of our healthcare workers,” she added.
Pharmally has so far delivered over 500,000 pieces of face shields, but the government has yet to pay the firm for the purchases because deliveries are still incomplete.
The DoH stressed that the procured items distributed to health workers were “duly inspected” as it assured the public that the government will exercise all the legal remedies available against Pharmally if the investigation launched against the foreign firm proves that it had committed irregularities.
“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,” Mercado-Grande said.
Malacañang earlier said that Pharmally may possibly face criminal charges including estafa and falsification of documents if it will be found guilty of selling anti-virus face shields with fake production dates.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also demanded that Pharmally pay the Philippine government in restitution if allegations are proven true, saying the compensation’s amount should cover the period of deception.
In a Senate inquiry last month, Pharmally regulatory affairs head Krizle Grace Mago claimed at a Senate blue ribbon committee hearing that the firm removed the face shields’ stickers bearing the production dates of 2020 and replaced these with 2021 production dates.
An unidentified Pharmally worker also testified at the Senate inquiry that the company’s warehouse employees supposedly repacked face shields that were folded, wet, old, and dirty.
The health agency previously explained that protective equipment against Covid-19, including medical-grade face shields, should not be used beyond its manufacturer-designated shelf life.
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