PAC says satisfied with vaccine procurement cost, but frowns at price paid for Pharmaniaga’s delayed Sinovac delivery

Pharmaniaga was contracted by the government to supply 12 million vaccine doses by way of the ‘Fill and Finish’ method by 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Pharmaniaga was contracted by the government to supply 12 million vaccine doses by way of the ‘Fill and Finish’ method by 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today said that it is satisfied with the government’s vaccine procurement price, but red-flagged the premium price paid to pharmaceutical giant, Pharmaniaga Berhad (Pharmaniaga), on the company’s delayed Sinovac vaccine delivery.

Pharmaniaga was contracted by the government to supply 12 million vaccine doses by way of the “Fill and Finish” method by 2021.

In its report today, the PAC said that the increase in price of between 16.8 per cent and 18.12 per cent which the government was required to pay to procure part of the said vaccine (finished product), was among others, owing to the delay by the company in delivering the product in April, May and June 2021, a period where there was a desperate need for the vaccine.

“PAC feels that the government should have stuck to the same price as stipulated in the initial agreement.

“PAC is also satisfied with the coordination between Mosti, MOH, MOF and other government agencies in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP),” the statement read, referring to the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance.

“Due to limited financial resources, the government was unable to place strategic bets on manufacturing companies for early booking without clinical information. This is one of the factors that Malaysia did not get supply of the vaccines sooner,” it added.

However, the PAC said that the vaccine procurement process became more proactive with the establishment of the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) in October 2020.

The Committee added that the delivery of vaccines by vaccine companies which was not according to schedule, had also contributed to uncertainties and delays in vaccination appointments.

“Specific government procurement procedures related to Covid-19 by the MOF to the MOH and Mosti including devolution to the Procurement Board of the Ministry to finalise procurement, helped in reducing bureaucracy and enhanced the implementation efficacy of the ministry,” the PAC added.

In its recommendations list, the PAC said that the government needs to also take proactive action in finalising the purchase of Covid-19 vaccine for children (five to 11 years old) including placing a strategic bet if necessary, to ensure that the delivery of Covid-19 vaccine for children will not be delayed.

“The government needs to set the ceiling price of Sinovac sold in the Private Vaccine Market immediately, and ensure that the ceiling price does not provide excessive profit to the manufacturer,” it added.

The PAC said that it took about one year to complete proceedings relating to the vaccine procurement by commencing proceedings on January 5, 2021 by summoning the former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin and the then health minister, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.

The last proceeding on the issue was on August 2, 2021 and the PAC said that it took about three months to complete the report by holding two “Housekeeping Meetings” on November 2 and 3. 

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