Investigation reveals…Gov’t pays $1,909 for $80 cream
The Guyana Government is buying anti-fungal creams at a cost of $1,909 per tube when the same cream is being retailed in India, inclusive of taxes, for as little as $80.
The cream is KETACONAZOLE and is used to treat jock itch, dandruff, athlete’s foot and other ailments.
The government buys the cream from the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (New GPC) and then distributes it to public hospitals and health centres.
When Kaieteur News first ran the story about the cost of the cream, the Guyana Times, carried an article in defense of the New GPC. Both the Guyana Times and the New GPC are owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi Ramroop, the best friend of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Guyana Times article sought to suggest that the cheaper creams being sold on the local market are counterfeit, or fake.
However, Kaieteur News has found that the very creams that the Guyana Times sought to label as fake are all being manufactured in India, including the one that the New GPC sells to the government through the Ministry of Health.
The same cream Ketaconazole, is being manufactured by U.S. Company Johnson and Johnson in India. This brand-name cream can be obtained for $210 here in Guyana.
Another company out of Britain also manufactures Ketoconazole out of India. This is being sold in Guyana for $155.
The one the government buys from New GPC is also manufactured in India.
This particular one is not being sold in local drug stories but Kaieteur News through its agent, managed to source it out of Indian for $80 per tube. The maximum suggested retail price that is stated on the box is the equivalent of $127, inclusive of all taxes.
It simply means that the government is buying the cheapest one at a price that is almost 25 times the Indian retail price… or paying $1750 more for one tube.
According to Guyana Revenue Authority, its Customs arm has several systems in place to ensure that pharmaceutical supplies meet the necessary safety requirements.
It is the same for the Ministry of Health’s Food and Drug Administration Department. Before drugs can enter Guyana, certain documentation must be presented there.
A licence to import will then be issued and these will have to be subsequently presented to Customs before the drugs are released.
Pharmaceuticals being brought into the country for government are Duty-free and
VAT-free. Only freight and insurance are paid by the importer.