PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte wants the alleged overpricing of medical supplies and equipment for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) investigated, his office said on Friday.

Presidential spokesman Harry L. Roque said the President was concerned about reports that the Health department had bought the overpriced goods.

“The President is worried about the conflict prices of the testing kits,” he told DZMM radio in Filipino. “He wants answers.”

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson on Thursday flagged the agency’s “pattern of overpricing,” as he compared its expenses against the private sector.

He said that the private sector had bought a unit of a nucleic acid extractor machine for P1.75 million, while the Department of Health spent P4 million.

Meanwhile, Senator Franklin M. Drilon welcomed the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s (PhilHealth) decision to lower the price of its COVID-19 test package by 50%.

PhilHealth lowered the package to P4,210 from P8,150 after Mr. Drilon cited questionable expenses during a Senate hearing.

“Why would the PhilHealth have different prices for the same test? I am glad that PhilHealth listened to us,” he said in a statement on Friday.

He said the test package could still be lowered to P3,500, the same amount PhilHealth pays the Philippine Red Cross for each test. — Charmaine A. Tadalan