Jul 08, 2018 News
There are questions over a $350M-plus drug contract last year to a New York-based company.
The contract, valued at US$1,789,886.15 ($366,926,660.80) was awarded on sole sourcing to a company called HDM Labs Inc.
While there is nothing much wrong with the award of contracts, there seems to be many question marks over this particular one.
HDM Labs, according to sources at the Ministry of Health, apparently had little or no experience in supplying pharmaceuticals to the Ministry of Health.
In fact, HDM Labs beat out a number of experienced suppliers- Ansa McAl Limited, International Pharmaceutical Agency, Global Healthcare Supplies Inc., Caribbean Medical Supplies and Meditron Inc.
From indications, the contract was hurried through in a matter of days.
According to documents of the Ministry of Health seen by Kaieteur News, on June 19, 2017, Permanent Secretary Collette Adams, wrote Berkley Wickham, Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Ministry of Finance compound, asking for sole sourcing approval.
Under the rules, sole sourcing must meet criteria that the items are emergency in nature and that only that one company has the possibilities of supplying.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the approval for sole sourcing was necessary to allow for the procurement of pharmaceutical supplies that were omitted from the major tender of 2017.
The letter, while not explaining the omission, sought approval for HDM to be awarded.
The Permanent Secretary, in her justifications of the choice of HDM, said that the US-based company has “great capacity” in delivering supplies within two weeks to the Ministry and that it was recognized as an efficient supplier countrywide.
She said that the company has pharmaceutical supplies registered with the Food and Drugs Department in both Guyana and the US; it has its own broker to expedite consignments.
“Based on experience HDM Labs Inc. has supplied pharmaceuticals to Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) using all Standard Operation Procedure.”
Adams said that the reason for the sole sourcing was because the “Ministry of Public Health had a restrictive tendering process done which was opened at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board dated the 23rd May, 2017. An evaluation report was prepared and none of the bidders were qualified to be awarded a contract.”
One day after writing NPTAB, the Ministry on June 20, 2017 wrote HDM Labs Inc, informing a Mr. Singh that his company has been awarded the contract.
HDM address was given as 153 Kingston Blvd, Island Park, New York 11558.
HDM’s principal is listed online as a Dr. Hardatt Singh who is said to the President and CEO of HDM.
The issue of drug contracts and their awards has been a burning one over the years with billions of dollars involved and accusations of significant wrongdoings.
There were supposed to be overhauls by the Coalition Government with Minister of Health Volda Lawrence recently reading the riot act recently to staffers warning that she is calling in the police and state auditors.
Dr. Singh’s name had surfaced in 2016 in relations to a $400M-plus fertilizer contract with Government.
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