More shocking drug purchases revealed…exorbitant prices to government

More shocking drug purchases revealed… New GPC sells $2,000 ‘pressure tablets’ for $18,000


…under-fire, calls for value for money audit

Government’s largest supplier of pharmaceutical supplies has backed down and is now calling on the Auditor General to carry out a value for money audit.
Over the past days, the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (New GPC), has come under fire for selling several products at exorbitant prices to government.

When Kaieteur News published the report on the sale of Ketoconazole cream bought by the institution for $1,909 per tube, it reported that the same tube was being retailed in the stores for $80. The Ministry of Health and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) both came out in defence of the purchases saying that the price they paid was ‘OK’.  [more]

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  • Cyril Balkaran  On 06/22/2012 at 2:02 am

    These investigative reports by the Kaiteur News must be taken into account and someone should make the appropriate recommendations to terminate this contract from the new GPC. There are unscrupulous business deals that take place by both the businesses and the middle men on whom the government depends for purchases. There can be direct bulk purchases from International Drug Houses and their agencies in the country or from other competitors. The GPC need not hold the Ministry of Health to ransom. Those who are responsible for bulk buying need to go on the net and find out more lucrative deals if this is allowed in the tendering processes and procedures of the Ministry of Health.

  • DMITRI ALLICOCK  On 06/22/2012 at 11:30 am

    Health Minister refutes Kaieteur News inflated prices for drugs procurement

    Written by Chamanlall Naipaul
    Thursday, 21 June 2012 21:14
    – figures quoted described as ‘fictitious’
    REFUTING claims by Kaieteur News that the Ministry of Health procured pharmaceutical drugs at astronomical prices via the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (NGPC), Health Minister, Dr Bheri Ramsaran said the newspaper’s quoted figures are “fictitious.”
    Sharing the press conference hosted on Wednesday at the Office of the President by Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr Roger Luncheon, the Health Minister said the newspaper’s allegations prompted a probe by his ministry, the findings of which showed that what the ministry actually spent was very different from those touted by the newspaper.
    Giving specific examples and quoting directly from his ministry’s records from the Materials Management Unit (MMU),
    among some of the items the minister referred to was aspirin which he said his ministry purchased at $485 per 1,000 in 2011 and $468 in 2012, but Kaieteur News falsely reported that the ministry paid $2,700.
    Another example the minister gave was Depo Povera, for which the ministry paid $1,561 and $1,957 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, but which Kaieteur News reported as $8,000.
    However, Dr Ramsaran explained that the Ministry of Health is not responsible for the procurement of pharmaceutical supplies, that responsibility, under the new act passed in the Parliament, falls under the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB). In this regard, he was fully supported by Dr. Luncheon, who stressed that the user is not the procurer in this instance.
    Moreover, the minister related that he had recently returned from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Assembly, where it was emphasised that, because of the great demand for pharmaceuticals, a lot of makeshift pharmaceutical manufacturers are popping up. Those, he said, in Guyanese terms are referred to as ‘bottom house’ producers who do not adhere to high international standards that are required by WHO, with their products being described as spurious and counterfeit products and are sold at cheap prices.
    Those producers, he said, are particularly evident in the emerging economies. However, he noted that the WHO is insisting that pharmaceutical products must be able to stand scrutiny in their countries of origin. On this note, Minister Ramsaran stressed that, in the procurement of pharmaceutical products, Guyana is adhering to the strict standards established by the WHO.
    However, the Health Minister conceded that the record keeping and storage of drugs need to be improved; and in this regard, efforts are ongoing to modernise the MMU and train the staff to upgrade to meet the required levels.
    A new warehouse is also being constructed at Diamond, on the East Bank of Demerara, which he said will be among the most modern in the Caribbean.
    Meanwhile, former Health Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy explained that only one company met all of the tender requirements for the procurement of pharmaceutical supplies to the Health Ministry.
    “It had the warehousing and cold storage capacity, and certain papers had to be deposited to us where you had to identify the supplier; we had to verify the suppliers, and we had to ensure that the medicine is GMP compliant – good manufacturing practices that (are) determined by international organisations. So, in the US, good manufacturing process is determined by the Food and Drug (USFDA) and the CDC. So the companies had to be certified. In India, they have an agency and they have to meet European standards. You can’t tell me that you want to be a supplier and you don’t know where you are going to buy your medicine from, because if I am going to prequalify you, I have to know who and where you are getting (your supplies) from,” Dr Ramsammy stated.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 06/26/2012 at 3:28 am

    The misquotates on prices for government purchased pharmaceuticals that appeared in the Kaiteur newspaper should be corrected and an apology offered to the Ministry of Health who does not purchase any drugs and allied materials from any Drug House or the Drug company. They also need to apologise to the established agency that procures pharmaceuticals for and on behalf of the Government. This is the correct thing to do in civil society as the integrity of the said newspaper will be in question!

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