CEBU City Hall officials insist that the purchase of almost P900,000 worth of oxytocin ampoules was above board.

Cebu City Bids and Awards Committee chairperson Ester Concha said that the price of per ampoule of the 3,060 ampoules of oxytocin bought in December 2014 was higher than those bought later in the same month because the first purchase was of a better quality brand.

The Commission on Audit (COA) described the oxytocin ampoules bought by City Hall as “overpriced.”

Concha said that the City bought more than 3,000 ampoules of a more-known brand of oxytocin but decided later to buy 60 ampoules of a cheaper variety in an “emergency purchase.”

Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) Director Gloria Duterte yesterday told reporters that the hospital observed that the more pricey oxytocin ampoule is more effective. “Because it is more effective, we only use a small amount of the more pricey oxytocin. One ampoule can induce contractions. On the other hand, we need 10 ampoules of the cheaper oxytocin to achieve the same effect,” she said.

All the oxytocin ampoules were supplied by Pharmaceutica Filipina de Visayas (PFDV).

PFDV won the bidding and offered the 3,000 ampoules for a total of P849,000 or about P280 each.

Shortly after, Cebu City bought 60 ampoules of oxytocin from PFDV through canvassing or small value procurement, at P150 per ampoule.

Aside from the price difference, COA also pointed out that the City Government could have saved funds if it bought its medicines from the Department of Health (DOH) pharmacy.

The COA report said the Estima brand of oxytocin at the DOH pharmacy is priced at P16 each while the Oxitone brand costs P27 each ampoule.