The Public Procurement Commission (PPC) has officially launched an investigation into the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s (GPHC) purchasing of pharmaceutical drugs and other medical supplies in March, 2017.
Last week during a Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Social Services (PSCSS) walk about, it proved that the GPHC was under staffed and short on drugs. Although the government is working to curb the shortage of drugs, there has been tampering of documents in the Finance Unit.
GPHC’s Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Kesaundra Alves, recently stated that “a tender had to be pulled because the documents were tampered with in the finance department. We have a lot of that happening in finance,” that delayed procurement of drugs even more.
Alves said that one person from the Finance department was relieved of duties within the last month.
A source told this publication, “This has been going on for some time.” There is currently an investigation ongoing in the department.
The issue regarding the procurement of drugs for the health sector has been taken to the National Assembly by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
Member of Parliament (MP) Juan Edghill, asked four questions of Minister of Health Volda Lawrence. The first question, “Procurement of drugs and medical supplies from the 10 regional health budgets” was to be answered in writing by the Ministry of Communities.
The second was “Delivery of drugs and medical supplies for the public system.”
The third was for Minister Lawrence to provide the specific drug, and or medical supply, and the dollar value in each case which was procured and found to be expired, and or, of inferior quality. Other questions were submitted under “Procurement of drugs and medical supplies for the Ministry of Public Health.” All these questions and written lists were submitted at today’s National Assembly.
The PPC investigation came in the wake of statements in the media about the procurement of pharmaceuticals for the Public Health sector.
The matter relating to the investigation is of grave public interest; therefore findings will be submitted to Parliament the Commission said.
More recently there was the matter of 14 bottles of defective soda lime at the facility. Soda Lime is used to assist patients to breathe while under anesthesia. The batch of soda lime deteriorated from granular into powdered form and cannot be used.
The drug was supplied by New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (NGPC). The company has agreed to supply new batches as soon it arrives in Guyana.
NGPC also supplied a quantity of 500 milligram Paracetamol tablets which were discovered with a foul odour at the facility. The company agreed to replace the tablets.
There was also the over $605M scandal in early March 2017.The GPHC ordered emergency drugs from a Trinidadian firm, ANSA McAL worth over $605 million, thereby sidelining local companies.
The order did not comply with the procurement law. The government played no role in that purchase Alves said.
An investigation was launched by the PPC, and reports are to be submitted to Parliament. The pharmaceuticals have been delivered, Alves noted.
However Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings, said that the investigation is still ongoing and the Ministry has not received a report as yet.
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