Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said the clarification was based on delivery records and documents. He issued the clarification following reports of alleged distribution of expired RT-PCR test kits by the RITM to Baguio City.
Duque also said that unlike medicines which have a shelf life of 3-5 years, testing kits have a significantly shorter shelf life of six months from the date of manufacture.
He explained that test kits are fast-moving stock that has to be utilized immediately, considering that shipment and other laboratory processes already take up part of their already short shelf life. Additionally, machine compatibility, technical issues, low testing referral count, and availability of supplies also contribute to low consumption of the COVID-19 test kits which in turn increase likelihood of expiry before use.
The health chief also assured that recognizing the importance of agile stock management for testing laboratories, the COVID-19 Laboratory Network Project Management Unit was created, and a new Information Management System has been launched.
“The PMU is now developing a more efficient and focused logistics process, while ensuring uninterrupted supply of COVID-19 test kits,” he said.
Meanwhile, Duque called on laboratories to ensure continuous operation in spite of the holidays and prepare for the anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases.
“I likewise urge all laboratories to continue operations in spite of the holidays and aid the government in meeting the increased testing demand that comes with the observed increase in cases,” he said.Publication Source : People's Journal