…you can’t get around it; this sector is plagued with ‘cock drugs’ – Dr. Luncheon
If the assertion by Ansa McAl that no member of the evaluation team for the prequalification of drug suppliers to Government
inspected their facilities is correct, then it would represent a failure on the part of the evaluators to confirm evidence submitted on the bid documents.
This is according to Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, who yesterday also challenged the company to produce to the public what it submitted to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board for consideration to become a prequalified supplier.
Dr. Luncheon said that Cabinet would have made a decision based on the report that was submitted to it by Tender Board.
He asserted that since Ansa McAl has publicly questioned the integrity of the evaluation process it does not have to wait to be formally written to, but is free to go ahead and lodge its complaints.
Managing Director of Ansa McAl, Beverly Harper, when contacted yesterday said, that the Tender Board is yet to make contact with the company.
The Trinidadian conglomerate has vehemently and publicly questioned its exclusion from the drug supply pre- qualification status.
Harper had told this publication that when the company saw the criteria it was determined that they fully met the demands.
“We saw the criteria and we thought that we could have satisfied what was being asked for…We would have never applied if we didn’t think that we met the criteria.”
A week ago Dr. Luncheon announced that the Cabinet approved New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (GPC), as the nation’s sole pre-qualified supplier of drugs to the Government.
New GPC is owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop who happens to be the best friend of former President, Bharrat Jagdeo. That company has been supplying the bulk of the drugs to Government for the past 15 years, ever since it was acquired by Ramroop in 1999.
Ever since the announcement of the award to New GPC, the matter has been in the limelight.
Asked whether the decision to award New GPC was not tantamount to sole sourcing, given that the company would be the only one to get drug contracts, Dr. Luncheon disagreed.
New GPC was picked from among seven companies that applied to be pre-qualified.
“Our result was that, there is only one company that satisfied those requirements as far as NPTAB was concerned, and that was brought to Cabinet,” according to Dr. Luncheon.
At the time of the announcement Dr. Luncheon was asked if the criteria used to pre-qualify a company were not biased in favour of New GPC. The Cabinet Secretary had responded that “The criteria are biased in favour of safety.”
He again repeated this assertion when asked yesterday saying that “you can’t get around it, this sector is plagued with cock drugs.”
Luncheon last week was asked if New GPC was benefiting because of the relationship that the owner enjoys with Jagdeo.
In response, he pointed to the level of investment by New GPC. The pre-qualification criteria which were used to allow New GPC to be chosen, have been described by the Opposition as being “unreasonable” and tailor-made to have that company secure the status.
The previous list of companies that were pre-qualified to supply drugs expired since December. Prior to inviting submissions for another round of pre-qualification, Government revised the criteria.
This led to the accusations that the government was positioning New GPC to be the only company meeting the requirements to win out.
Under the revised criteria, bidders had to demonstrate a gross annual turnover of US$5 million and net assets of US$2.5 million.
Another criterion was that maximum score was to be awarded to applicants who would have paid $50M in Corporate taxes, annually.
Additionally, the company that has 50 or more employees, and warehousing capacity of 30,000 square feet in the city, will also gain an edge.
New GPC has been a feature in the Auditor General’s report over the years with several instances focused on multi-million-dollar deficiencies in the procurement and supply of drugs to Government. The purchase of drugs this year is expected to surpass US$25M.
The purchases have been a major source of contention between Government and the Opposition for years now, because of the seemingly close relationship between its main principal and the Administration.
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