New GPC still to supply drugs four years after collecting money—AG Report

The original article can be found in: Kaieteur News By Abena Rockcliffe

The Ministry of Health (MOH) was in 2010 unable to provide receipts to prove that it collected $30M worth of drugs and medical supplies from New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation Inc. (New GPC).

Also, in 2010, the outstanding balance of 222.526M for 2008 and 2009 was still to be reconciled by the Ministry.
These issues were all stated in the Auditor General (AG)’s report and are set to be brought up before the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) come Monday.
Auditor General, Deodat Sharma, stated in his 2010 annual report, “The Ministry failed to provide evidence of receipt of drugs and medical supplies to the value of $30.909M purchased from New GPC in 2010. Also, the outstanding balance for the years 2008 to 2009 of 222.526M is still to be reconciled by the Ministry.”
The Ministry’s written response to the auditor’s findings, dated June 29, 2012, stated that “To date the Materials Management Unit has reconciled all contracts with the New GPC for the year 2010. The Ministry is currently working with the supplier (New GPC) to reconcile its records for 2008 and 2009, and to have all the outstanding deliveries cleared.”
However, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Member of Parliament (MP), Jaipaul Sharma, who also sits on the PAC, has signaled his intent to thoroughly question Ministry of Health officials who appear before the committee next Monday.
The Member of Parliament, who is also an accountant, told Kaieteur News that he did prior investigations as to why drugs are being delivered four years after it was paid for.
Sharma said, “I questioned why drugs were delivered four years later because I wanted to know if it is that the company (New GPC) was incapable of supplying the drugs at the time, which would have meant that it should have been disqualified from tendering, but I was given an excuse just to throw me off.”
According to Jaipaul Sharma, he learnt, from the Auditor General, that the drugs were to be delivered to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the hospital, at the time, hadn’t the storage capacity.
“Now, even if that is the case there is still a big problem, because GPHC would have received or will receive the same drugs that the supplier would have supplied four years ago; the supplier will not go and buy new drugs.”
Further, Sharma stated that the drugs, once expired, will have to be destroyed or disposed of, which in turn results in a “total waste of state funds.”
Sharma also stated that the international limit for drugs to be destroyed because of expiration is five per cent.
“So what they will do is only destroy some of the expired drugs so that they won’t embarrass themselves, which leads to another problem.”
The MP stated that better can be done within the system “and this needs a lot of answers.”
The AG, when contacted yesterday confirmed that GPHC “hadn’t storage capacity” to collect the drugs at the time. He also noted that the same drugs that were to be supplied in 2008 were supplied last year, 2012, and will be supplied for the money to be cleared.
However, asked whether the drugs are likely to be expired, he replied “not really.”
The AG also told this newspaper that $222.5M to be reconciled has since been reduced to “about $80M” and that those deliveries for 2008 are presently being audited.
Ministry of Health officials are set to tell the PAC next week, what steps have been taken to ensure all drugs and medical supplies purchased are promptly received and accounted for.

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