COVID-19: UN report warns of corruption risks in vaccine procurement

The report first noted that even under normal circumstances, the public procurement process poses the biggest risk for corruption among all government functions. “Corruption scandals in procurement are widespread, but in the health-care sector, the procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices are particularly prone to corruption,” the report heeded, as it outlined multiple instances in which corruption can occur in the pre-bidding, bidding and post-bidding phases.   

According to the organization, in a public health crisis, corruption risks in procurement are magnified by the urgency of a country’s needs, required flexibility and requested speed for the delivery of the said product, which creates the opportunity for individual discretion that can further increase the risk of corruption.

It stated that during the pre-bidding phase, corruption risks include estimates for the demand of a particular product being done inaccurately, the blatant bypassing of public tendering procedures and officials tailoring tender documents to favour a particular bidder. The report further highlighted that during the bidding phase, there is a great risk of government officials receiving bribes or recompenses from suppliers and risk of collusion and market division between bidders themselves. “Such closed networks thrive by virtue of their exclusion and even more so when oversight is traded for speed and rapid impact,” UNODC asserted.

Moreover, it was revealed that in the post-bidding phase, there is a risk of false invoicing for products, corrupt changes to contract agreements and vaccines that were paid for not being delivered.

It revealed that many countries have since embarked on issuing direct contracts for procurement without a competitive bidding process and are now facing challenges in ensuring that commands are in place to identify and prevent abuses and corrupt practices in the public procurement process. In light of that, the report also warned of unscrupulous government officials that may be seeking to enrich themselves and their associates by requesting kickbacks from the suppliers.

The UNODC posited that keen attention must also be paid to suppliers, as they may seek to exploit shortages and peddle grossly inflated prices to government purchasers and collude with other suppliers to their advantage. “If suppliers bribe government officials to circumvent regulatory controls, there is also a risk that governments may purchase substandard or falsified products, undermining the health of their populations and reducing their citizens’ trust and confidence in public institutions – as well as in the government’s response to the pandemic,” it said.

The UN organization has stressed that public procurement has been estimated to comprise as much as 15 to 30 percent of the gross domestic product in many countries and has firmly concluded that the large volumes that are involved in public procurement make it highly vulnerable to corruption risks.


Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • kamtanblog  On 04/05/2021 at 3:05 am

    Where are the anti corruption laws and their enforcement ? Corruption in business may be
    acceptable but discouraged …in politricks neither should be tolerated. Anti corruption laws are neccessary evil that must be enacted ASAP
    and rigorously enforced if Guyana is to move forward into 21st century and beyond. IMO.

    Corruption is Guyana’s other pandemic.
    Political Transparency and accountability is part and parcel of that process.
    Not holding my breadth!

    Kamtan uk-ex-EU

  • guyaneseonline  On 04/05/2021 at 3:50 pm

    The Guyana government is paying US$4 million for a total of 200,000 doses. ($20US per dose) for the Sputnik vaccine. This article says it should cost less than $10US.


    RDIF continues expanding existing agreements with international manufacturing partners to produce the vaccine for more than 500 million people in 2021

    The cost of one dose of the Sputnik V vaccine for international markets will be less than $10. Sputnik V is a two dose vaccine.

    Therefore, Sputnik V will be two or more times cheaper than mRNA vaccines with similar efficacy levels.1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: