IPA claim of dishonesty…
…says only pre-qualified companies were invited to bid
Health Minister Dr Leslie Ramsammy, yesterday, at a press briefing to refute claims by Chief Executive Officer of International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA), Lloyd Singh, ended up confirming what Singh has been saying all along. The Ministry did not advertise for the procurement and delivery of drugs and medical supplies.
According to Dr Ramsammy, only pre-qualified companies were invited to bid for the supply of the drugs that the Ministry wanted, and they were duly informed by way of a letter in January informing that they should submit their bids to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board.
Dr Ramsammy said that the advertisement that the ministry did place on the eprocure.com website was for the pre-qualification of bidders. Six companies responded, with one being IPA.
The Health Minister stated that only two companies – New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation and Medpharm – pre-qualified. They were the only two companies that are classified as manufacturers.
He said that IPA did not satisfy the requirements which were approved by World Health Organization (WHO) and as such was not prequalified, thus it was not invited to submit bids for the drug supplies. The government had posted on the e-procure website, invitations by companies, both local and overseas, to seek prequalification to supply the range of drugs needed by the health sector. There were said to be more than 400 items.
The Minister stated that given the fact that New GPC and Medpharm were manufacturing drugs they were automatically pre-qualified for those drugs that they did produce.
“The fact is that the Government of Guyana procures some of its medicines and medical supplies through pre-qualified suppliers.”
He explained that a pre-qualification tender process (an invitation to be pre-qualified to supply certain medicines and medical supplies) was advertised on October 22, 2010.
Dr Ramsammy said that in this case the pre-qualification process was intended, as clearly stated then, to add pre-qualified local companies to the list of pre-qualified international suppliers for certain medicines and medical supplies.
The international suppliers presently utilized are IDA, PAHO/WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA.
Ramsammy repeatedly in his presentation kept making reference to the advertisement for the pre-qualification, but the IPA boss had queried if there was an advertisement for the supply of drugs.
“Kaieteur News, Stabroek News and others had carried stories in November and December relating to the procurement practices of the Ministry of Health as follow-up stories relating to the Ministry of Health’s response to the Auditor General’s recommendation previously, that the Ministry of Health should advertise and pre-qualify local suppliers…
“Even if they make a case (that) they did not know before last week, they certainly knew last week when I clarified these facts in a statement published widely, including in the Kaieteur News.”
Ramsammy told media operatives that during the first week of November, the Ministry invited all companies that requested pre-qualification tender documents to a clarification meeting to answer any query the suppliers might have had relating to the pre-qualification process. The date of the meeting was November 4, 2010.
The Ministry of Health thoroughly went through the pre-qualification document and made clear what the requirements were.
The IPA boss, as reported by Kaieteur News, admitted that such a meeting was held and even provided minutes of that meeting, Dr Ramsammy said.
When the pre-qualification document process was opened on November 23, five companies submitted bids to be pre-qualified as suppliers to the Ministry of Health. The National Procurement and Tender Administration Board evaluated these submissions based on its well-known process and approved two companies as pre-qualified companies.
The IPA was not one of the companies pre-qualified, asserted Dr Ramsammy.
The Minister informed media operatives that the Ministry’s method of procurement is a mixed system. He said that in order to gain efficiency they have developed a few strategies namely: Pre-qualified local suppliers (chosen by open tender) and a set of pre-qualified international suppliers for some of the medicines and medical supplies and open tender for some medicines and supplies each time we need these supplies
Dr Ramsammy insisted that the process for each strategy is transparent.
“It is because of this fairness and transparency that companies such as IPA can boast that they are able to supply millions of dollars of medicines and medical supplies to the Ministry of Health…Indeed, even with this dishonesty on the part of the IPA boss, the Cabinet today approved IPA to supply millions of dollars worth of medical supplies.”
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