Medical-grade face shields have a general shelf life of 36 months, the Department of Health said Monday after an executive of the government's supplier of COVID-19 gear admitted to tampering production dates on face shields.
Face shields can be used for 36 months or three years from their production date, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III said, noting that the foam on the gear--which acts as a cushion for the wearer's forehead -- deteriorates beyond the said period.
"'Yung kaniyang foam ay dapat tumagal at garter dapat tumagal ng 36 na buwan," Duque told President Rodrigo Duterte in a meeting with other Cabinet officials.
Beyond the 36-month period, Duque said the foam on face shields becomes brittle and can even turn to powder. The garter too becomes brittle, he added.
"'Yung garter ay nagiging brittle din po at yun po yung tinatawag natin na may shelf life of about 36 months," he said.
Duque gave the explanation as lawmakers continue to scrutinize alleged corruption in the government's procurement of COVID-19 supplies.
Lawmakers are investigating why the government's chosen supplier, Pharmally, bagged over P8 billion worth of medical supplies contracts last year despite its small capitalization.
Just last week, Krizle Mago, head of Pharmally's Regulatory Affairs, admitted to lawmakers that they switched the production dates of face shields delivered to the DOH to 2021 instead of 2020.
Duque said Pharmally should pay the government for damages for the cost of face shields it tampered with. He however assured the public that the DOH inspects all medical supplies delivered to the government.
"Hindi po natin tinatanggap ang mga supplies na hindi iniinspect ng ating DOH inspection team," he said.