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DOH: COVID-19 test kits procured through PS-DBM 'not near expiry'

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DOH: COVID-19 test kits procured through PS-DBM 'not near expiry'
A health worker takes a swab of a woman in Brgy. Pasadena in San Juan City on May 6, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 test kits that the budget department’s procurement service bought for the Department of Health in 2020 were not nearly expired, the agency said on Saturday.

The health agency issued the statement after Sen. Francis Pangilinan questioned why the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management purchased COVID-19 test kits with a shelf life below the required specifications.

“The COVID-19 RT-PCR test kits with six months shelf life are not near expiry, as that was the standard shelf life of those novel diagnostic test kits at the time,” DOH Undersecretary Charade Mercado-Grande said.

“Our COVID-19 laboratories were able to test our kababayan using these procured test kits,” she added.

For the initial procurement of test kits, the DOH said that RT-PCR test kits should last for 12 to 24 months. Such specification was based on similar procurements prior to the pandemic.

“As COVID-19 is a novel disease, the test kits used to detect the virus were only developed in the early months of 2020. Back then, real-time RT-PCR test kits that were available in the market had a shelf life of only six months,” the department said.

“The DOH acknowledged that these products have a short shelf-life and accepted the deliveries with this limitation,” it added.

The agency also said the RT-PCR test kits that PS-DMB procured from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. were delivered “on a staggered basis dependent on the consumption of the country.” — Gaea Katreena Cabico

COVID-19 PANDEMIC COVID-19 TESTING DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
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