– also buys $1,600 aspirin for $2,700
One day after government came out in defence of reports that it purchased an $80 anti-fungal cream for $1,909 per tube, there are now more shocking details of how one contraceptive was bought at an exorbitant $8,000 for one vial.
The injection, Depo Provera, is retailed and available on prescription in the local hospitals for as low as $1,100. One major importer has told this newspaper that he has been supplying the said item to the government for $600 per vial.
Yet, the drug was sold at a whopping $8,000 for one vial by the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (New GPC) to government for distribution to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). This is 13 times higher than what it was being purchased for.
Depo Provera is the brand name for a 150 mg aqueous injection of DMPA depot medroxyprogesterone acetate and is applied in the form of an intramuscular injection. The shot must be injected into the thigh or buttocks or deltoid four times a year (every 11 to 13 weeks) and provides pregnancy protection starting a week after the first injection.
It has also been revealed that GPHC is also buying from New GPC, Acetylsalicycic Acid (aspirin) for $2,700 per bottle when it can be bought for $1600. Each bottle contains 1,000 tablets.
Over the weekend, Kaieteur News published a report of the Ketoconazole cream which was being purchased by government for $1,909 when it is being sold for $80.
In this case, too, the seller was the same New GPC owned by Dr Ranjisinghi Ramroop, former President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo’s best friend. Dr Ramroop also owns Guyana Times, TVG 28, Queen’s Atlantic Investment Inc. (QAII) and several other companies.
The Ministry of Health, through the GPHC, on Sunday issued a statement attempting to defend the Ketoconazole purchase.
Government insisted that it “worked assiduously to ensure reliable supplies of medicines at the most affordable prices”.
The hospital suggests, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, that “the common quoted products between suppliers are compared in terms of prices and the overall lowest price is accepted for the list…This is what happened on the last two occasions when Ketoconazole was (sic) procured as one item of a list of items.”
According to the hospital explanation, this medicine was part of a large list and the overall cost was lower by purchasing through the NGPC.
This was a determination made through the evaluation process of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board at the Ministry of Finance.
The hospital insisted that “item-by item cost varies among suppliers” and “while we do take into consideration cost per item, the overall cost for a list of items is critical for overall savings.”
This statement suggested that the $1,909 paid to NGPC for a tube of cream that is retailed for $80, is not overpriced.
The hospital statement said that “in instances where the cost for one item is priced far too high, we disaggregate out the items where the quoted prices are too high and remove them from the list.”
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. It contended that the others were selling counterfeit drugs.
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 Ketoconazole is being manufactured by U.S. company Johnson and Johnson in India.
This brand of the 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 stores but Kaieteur News, through its agent, managed to source it out of India 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.
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