John Battaglia, a medical consultant from New Jersey who was among the visiting Americans, said he has investigated the arrangement. Among his discoveries, he said, was that, because of the monopoly, the Philippine government is buying hundreds of thousands of intravenous bottles for $2 each, items that Battaglia said cost 37.5 cents on the open market. Similarly, the government is locked into buying 2.5-cubic-centimeter syringes for 23 cents each, which Battaglia said can be bought for six cents.
"On the whole, I think the situation is very bad," he said. "I think the people in this government now are dedicated. They just have nothing to work with. But there are a lot of ways they can do more with what little they've got, and I think they're trying to do that now."