Omnibus dismisses fake news being involved in the overpricing of COVID-19 testing machines and kits

In a press statement, Omnibus Bio-Medical Systems. Inc. —the Philippine distributor of Sansure Biotech Inc. — denied all allegations that they sold overpriced COVID-19 testing equipment and kits to the government.

The company stated that these false allegations are all unfounded. Omnibus has been selling medical equipment for more than 20 years. It is recognized in the industry as a reliable and credible supplier.

Baseless allegations

“There is no truth to the reports that the company directly sold Sansure Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines and test kits to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Central Office Bids and Awards Committee -Department of Health (DOH), and PhilHealth,” the statement declared. “Our company adheres to a business practice aimed at providing the best value in life science equipment. We will not tarnish that reputation especially [during] the COVID-19 crisis.”

Omnibus dismissed the fake news about the company being involved in the overpricing of COVID-19 testing machines and kits. Omnibus also denied monopolizing the market for COVID-19 testing kits. The company’s executives do not know why they were suddenly attacked.

Fair price

The confusion over the prices of the COVID-19 testing machines sold by Omnibus happened when general statements were made and failed to note that the company was actually offering packages with different inclusions for clients.

When Omnibus facilitated the sale of the Sansure NATCH CS Fully Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction System machine for Go Negosyo’s Project ARK, the price was P1.75 million. Omnibus explained: “We facilitated the purchase of Go Negosyo at the price of $35,000 or (roughly around P1.75 million at the time of purchase). This was done via a free on board or FOB arrangement. Go Negosyo was the one who paid the additional costs for air transport, destination charges, storage, and warehousing.” Sansure Biotech is based in China.

Meanwhile,when the Procurement Service of DBM (PS-DBM) called for a Request For Quotation for Thermo Fisher, Omnibus offered a similar machine from Sansure on April 23, 2020 as a ready-to-use package at P4.3 million. This package included 25,000 NATCH consumables, which are the plastics that are used to carry out the RNA extraction. It also included costs such as air transport, destination charges, storage, warehousing, local delivery fees, warranties, as well as peripheral accessories needed to run the said machine, preventive maintenance and technical calibration fees, bonds, and retentions.

Omnibus offered another package that cost P4 million to PS-DBM on May 6 as a Promotional Letter, including Marketing Materials for Budgetary and Reference Quotations. It was a slightly lower price because the machine and NATCH consumables were priced separately.  That was the only difference. All other additional costs were included.

Moreover, Omnibus was operating within a difficult delivery scenario and rushing to fulfill a possible very short delivery period. With these challenges, the costs added up to P4.3 million (for the NATCH machine with 25,000 PCR consumables) and P4 million (for the NATCH machine alone). Bottom line, Omnibus stands by its statement that they offered a fair price for both packages mentioned.

No monopoly

Omnibus likewise clarified that they had never hoarded nor do have a monopoly of PCR, NATCH machines and COVID-19 testing equipment and kits. The company stated that anyone can easily confirm that they only distribute one of the brands available in the market. Omnibus is the exclusive distributor for the Sansure brand only.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also confirmed that there are “at least 45 approved brands for PCR-based testing.”

Even with its exclusive distributorship of Sansure products, there are at least three other companies selling Sansure as well. There is no way that Omnibus can corner the industry.

Furthermore, Omnibus had no power whatsoever on the bidding process for the test kits. In fact, Omnibus lost in the bidding and so far does not have an existing business transaction with DBM, COBAC-DOH and PhilHealth on the test kit and medical equipment in question.

Omnibus also did not protest their loss in the bidding process. They respectfully accepted the decision of the government.

Omnibus emphasized: “We value our customers and will never engage in profiteering, hoarding, or blackmailing. We stand on two decades of hard work and service commitment to our stakeholders through the selfless dedication of our employees. Our ISO certification for the past three years attests to the heart and passion to be preferred partners in the healthcare industry.”

Written by Daily Fel

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