Jan 19, 2016 News
-shortage to be resolved in a month
The late delivery of medical supplies which is currently affecting several Regions is being addressed, assures Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton.
Yesterday, with just over a one-week supply of some critical drugs in stock, a Government statement quoted Norton as saying that new purchasing systems for hospital drugs by the new administration have created some delays.
He explained that the Ministry of Public Health is in the process of changing the system of sole sourcing to one of an open tender with competitive bidding. “All of that takes time, and we found ourselves in a situation where they could have been stocking out.”
Another contributory factor, the Minister pointed out, could have been the time in which the respective Regions advised the Ministry of their individual needs.
“The Regions were given their monies to purchase medication. They are supposed to send a list to the Ministry of Public Health so that we can acquire these medications and then they pay by a subvention later. That money might have got to the Region a little late. Also the regional officers might not have been sufficiently informed about the procedure of exactly what the Regions need.”
The administration promises to spare no effort in resolving this situation. The Minister is optimistic that within a month “we are going to have medication in the country fully supplied.”
Last week, Government announced that the Cabinet has approved the sum of $700M for the purchase of essential drugs and other medicine supplies for health facilities in all ten Administrative Regions.
The Ministry of Public Health had reported that existing stocks are expected to last until the end of this month, and arrangements will be fast-tracked to deal with any emergency situations.
Last Tuesday, the Cabinet was briefed about current stock levels of pharmaceuticals and other medicine supplies in the health sector.
Government said it had approached a single supplier to provide the medication as a precaution in the event that anyone should be at risk from the viral influenza which reportedly has affected persons in some neighbouring states.
“In approving $700M for fresh supplies, the Guyana Government has opted to implement a fair and open bidding process for all suppliers in the pharmaceutical industry to get an opportunity to secure contracts.”
The statement noted that while in opposition, both APNU and the AFC, which now form the six-party coalition, had declared that when elected, they would end the discriminatory practice of sole sourcing of medical supplies.
“The Ministry of Health has received support from the USAID to develop a new standard for an open, competitive bidding system. A bidding document to this effect was approved by the National Tender Administration Board, following which a pre-bid meeting with all potential bidders was held on December 16, 2015.”
A multi-billion-dollar pre-qualification, sole sourcing contract with the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation ended in October 2015, easing concerns with stakeholders over the unfair practice.
That company had been under scrutiny for years now over the questionable supply of billions of dollars in drugs, which were time and again red-flagged by state auditors.
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