On Monday, 22 February 2021, the Ministry of Public Health purchase committee held a press conference to defend the purchase of RD$625 million in syringes for the 7.8 million-person Covid-19 vaccination campaign in the Dominican Republic. The Ministry set a price limit of RD$25 for the syringes.
During the press conference, the Ministry defended the tender arguing it was an emergency procedure and the syringes would be imported from the United States and flown in by air. The Ministry also argued the syringes needed to meet certain specifications and that there is a scarcity due to the global demand for the syringes.
After El Nacional newspaper took the case of the overpriced syringes public, the Presidency acted and issued a decree whereby all medical supplies purchases for the Ministry of Public Health are transferred to PromeseCal. It was latter known PromeseCal is actually the designated government entity responsible for purchasing medical supplies since 2012. PromeseCal will also purchase the high-cost pharmaceuticals from now on.
Promese Cal opened a bidding procedure for a maximum of RD$164 million for the same syringes. Two-thirds of the syringes will be purchased for RD$3 or less. The tender calls for the purchase of 8,097,857 syringes AD 23 Gx1″ of 0.5 ML and 4.7 million units of “Pfizer syringes” and 957,000 mixed Pfizer syringes, for a total of 13.8 million syringes.
23 February 2021