Drug purchases…New GPC invoices contradict Govt’s defence

Billion-dollar drug purchases…New GPC invoices contradict Govt’s defence

JULY 27, 2014 | BY
Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop’s

Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop

Invoices supplied to a New York court by the Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop’s New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (New GPC) have clearly contradicted the Guyana government’s defence of drug purchases from his company.

Yesterday Head of State, Donald Ramotar, echoed the sentiments of Minister of Health, Bheri Ramsaran. They both tried to defend the purchases from New GPC, which has been supplying Government with drugs to the tune of billions of dollars for 15 years – since 1999 to be exact.Members of Parliament and other pharmaceutical suppliers had raised concerns about the seeming exorbitant prices that the government was paying to the New GPC for drugs.
Reports on the comments by the critics led to the pharmaceutical company taking legal action in the courts of New York, and in Guyana, against Kaieteur News.

After a press conference at State House, Ramotar told this publication yesterday that the items with high prices that were identified by Kaieteur News were insignificant to the overall purchases made by the government.

He said that these items were small in quantity and when one looks at the deal on the entire package, the overall transaction is more than satisfactory.
A similar explanation was given two years ago by Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsarran, when he too defended the drug purchases.

The government called a press conference in the wake of publications by Kaieteur News of the high prices charged by New GPC.
Ramsarran had stated then that this media house had zeroed-in on items which it said were overpriced.

He said that these were insignificant since they were just a couple tubes of Ketoconazole cream.
However, invoices submitted to the New York court by Dr. Ramroop tell a contradictory story.
They debunked the defence by President Ramotar and the Health Minister, Bheri Ramsaran.
New GPC had been asked to supply the invoices to the court. They made strenuous attempts to avoid doing so.

Their refusal prompted the judge, Justice Joan Kenney, to compel the company to provide the invoices.

Bheri Ramsarran

Bheri Ramsarran

The lawyer for New GPC then asked the court that the information be sealed. This was to ensure that there were no public disclosures of the information contained in the invoices.
The judge refused the request. She told the New GPC lawyer, Ray Beckerman, that as long as it involves taxpayers’ money, the public has a right to know.

One such invoice, dated 2011/09/30 revealed that the item Ketoconazole, which was identified by the Kaieteur News, amounted to the largest single item of the $59.2M contract; certainly not insignificant as the Government officials tried to suggest.

In fact, it is more than one-third of the total invoice price.
The invoice showed that there were 8,212 tubes of Ketoconazole at a price of $2,647 each. This works out to a total of $21.7M for that item alone.

Kaieteur News through its agent sourced the same drug from an Indian company for $80 per tube.
Had the Ministry paid $80 per tube, it would have only cost taxpayers $656,960.
This meant that the Government paid $21M more for an order that could be sourced for $656,960.

New GPC has now been selected to be the ONLY prequalified supplier of drugs to Government.
With New GPC alone selected to supply government with drugs to the tune of billions of dollars, there will be no ‘competitive pricing’ but Head of State, Ramotar, said that this is a matter that would have to be sorted when the pre-qualification process is repeated.
That would be three years from now.

ramroop invoiceWhat this means is that the New GPC will for the next three years sell drugs to government at whatever price it chooses.
Ramotar was yesterday asked why the criteria for the selection of suppliers were not amended to ensure that at least two companies were pre-qualified so that there could be competition in pricing.

The President responded by saying that with lowering the standards of the criteria, there is a risk attached and pointed to the fact that there is a lot of concern over some types of drugs being supplied.

Ramotar said, “The thing we have to do is encourage broader participation…get more people to apply.”
But on this occasion there were seven applications for prequalification.
Confronted with the fact that at least one company, Ansa McAl, has protested the decision saying that the company has met all of the criteria, the President said that he has observed the concern raised and that the company has a right to appeal.

He said that once the complaint is lodged it will be addressed by the Tender Board.
According to the President, the decision was not made by Cabinet.
“This is purely a technical thing,” according to Ramotar who said that it was an evaluation team at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) which assessed the companies based on the set criteria.

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Comments

  • Albert  On 07/27/2014 at 7:33 pm

    Here is corruption right before our very eyes. Let us see the response of those who were so elegant about corruption of the past.

  • Michael O Alstrom  On 07/27/2014 at 7:53 pm

    Hope all is well.Thought this may be food for thought.

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  • Gloria Y Fredericks  On 07/28/2014 at 2:04 am

    What a disgrace. Ramotar and the PPP are literally robbing Guyana blindly and with impunity. How much more corrupt and dishonest can these people become? The Ramotar government appears to be determined to render Guyana the dubious distinction of becoming the world’s poorest country, while members of the Ramotar government and their henchmen, become among the wealthiest persons in the world. Unfortunately the President of Guyana is a crook, a blatant liar, and the leader of the band of thieves.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 07/29/2014 at 2:10 am

    If the New GPC is overprising their pharmaceutical products then the Guyana Government can abolish the bonded suppliers and selected tender system and go to the open market in India for example and purchase every and any kind of legal drug that is required for the country’s medical institutions. In the Capitalist world these things are to be expected. Overpricing and overinvoicing are the twin evils of a capitalist oriented System. The Government has the right to move away from such a system, the sooner the better.

    • Albert  On 07/29/2014 at 2:44 pm

      The article above is not merely about overpricing its basic racketeering.. The President make his buddy the sole govt contractual buyer of pharmaceutical. His buddy buy a unit of one item at $80 and sell the govt at $2647 each. Multiply all these profits for all the drugs over several years. It amounts to millions. Then he and Ramotar split the profits. This is too basic a crockery. If anyone think Ramotar is going to give this up easily they are dreaming.
      People like Granger is too passive. He should make more noise; be more confrontational and let the public know what’s going on. Hopefully Guyanese can still read to see how these thieves are robbing them. Then again Guyanese must be so bent on exiting that they dont care about politics.

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 07/29/2014 at 11:19 am

    Where is that important model of Leadership in the Guyanese Politics that will portray Mr Clean and Just. After the demise of Cheddi Bharat Jagan all hell broke loose and Satan has put the noose on the necks of all of them. He is the devil who is calling the shots in the hell that Guyana has become. God help us all!

    • Albert  On 08/04/2014 at 11:56 pm

      Cyril “Where is that important model of Leadership in the Guyanese Politics that will portray Mr Clean and Just”
      Don’t have to go far. Visit Barbados.

  • guyaneseonline  On 08/04/2014 at 5:09 am

    New GPC is sole prequalified drug supplier… Govt. banking on public scrutiny to prevent overpriced drugs
    AUGUST 3, 2014 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
    … once they get exposed they start behaving themselves – Dr. Luncheon
    http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2014/08/03/new-gpc-is-sole-prequalified-drug-supplier-govt-banking-on-public-scrutiny-to-prevent-overpriced-drugs/

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