Feb 16, 2016 News
…new procurement system to tackle shortage
The shortage of drugs and other pharmaceuticals is a worrying issue- to tackle this situation; the
government has introduced a new drug procurement system which will address drug shortages and wastage.
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, at a press conference in the Ministry’s Boardroom yesterday said that the drug supply system is far from perfect but government is taking steps to strengthen the management of the drug supply chain.
In 2014, he said that $280M worth in medication had to be dumped because they were expired.
To avoid this from happening again, the new procurement system was introduced. It will show all aspects of the drug system from the procurement to the distribution and to the consumption.
“This Government will ensure adequate drugs and medical supplies are provided in all of our facilities across the country. We are not there yet, but we intend to get there soon and fully resolve these issues,” the Minister stated.
Explaining the new system, Dr. Norton said that drugs and medical supplies will be centrally procured and distributed to the respective regions in an effort to have a more efficient and transparent system with less wastage.
The Minister said that by procuring drugs this way, the health ministry will benefit from economies of scale whereby there will be a reduced cost when drugs and medical supplies are purchased in bulks.
According to Dr. Norton, each region will be given an allocation for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies. However, an agreed sum will be sent back to the health ministry by the Regional Executive Officer along with a list of needed medical supplies.
This will then be pooled together and used for the general procurement process.
This will not be done for minor purchases which include snake bite kits and small emergency supplies.
“The allocations have been distributed across the regions as a first step in improving the programme budgeting of health costs at a regional level, even as work is advancing on a costing exercise to determine the total costs of drugs expended in each region to address the disease profiles of the particular region.”
This newspaper was told that the system that persisted since 2005 of sole sourcing is a thing of the past.
Also, there is now a new bidding document where new companies will have a chance to take part in this exercise.
“The different numbers of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are separated in lots so we find that, for instance, if we need diabetic supplies then that will be in one lot. If we need ophthalmological and pharmaceutical supplies that will be in another lot,” Norton explained.
He continued, “Whoever is participating can bid for a particular lot be it diabetic or ophthalmological supplies.”
Government has plugged $28 billion of this year’s national budget into the delivery of health care.
“The allocations have been distributed across the regions as a first step toward improving the budgeted health costs at a regional level, even as work is advancing on a costing exercise to determine the total costs of drugs expended in each region. This will help address the disease profiles of the particular region.”
He added, “The drug supply system is far from perfect. To date there has been no administration that has had a situation free from shortages of drugs and medical supplies in some parts of the country.”
In addition, the Public Health Ministry is working to create a more transparent procurement system which will allow individuals to bid on portions of the tenders since the supplies will be separated by lots and tendered as such.
There was more than $280M worth of expired drugs in 2014.
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