By Devina Samaroo
The Public Health Ministry has introduced a new system for the procurement of drugs and medical supplies with the aim of enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the drug supply chain in the country.
This will be complemented with several changes in the bidding documents which are intended to create a more level playing field among competitors.
During a press conference at his Brickdam Office on Monday, Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton told media operatives that the procurement of drugs and medical supplies remained a centralised process (with the exception of minor purchases including medical gases, snake bite kits and small emergency supplies). However, each Region would be responsible for submitting to Central Government a list of the drugs needed and the total sum required to purchase those drugs.
This means that monies will be warranted back to the Public Health Ministry from the Regions to facilitate the centralised procurement.
“The Regional Executive Officers will send the agreed sums to the Ministry of Public Health, and the Ministry of Public Health will pool all these monies and purchase drugs and medical supplies for the facilities across the regions,” the Minister emphasised.
Dr Norton explained that this system would help in determining the total cost for drugs in each Region and would also address the disease profiles of each Region based on the drugs being sourced.
Additionally, he announced several adjustments that would soon be made to the bidding documents in order to allow other companies to qualify as a supplier.
“We have now a new bidding document where companies that have never participated in the competitive bidding will have a chance to take part in the exercise,” he explained.
For instance, adjustments will be made so that bidders will no longer have to meet the requirement of supplying brand-name drugs, since generic names would be acceptable.
Also, drugs will no longer be required to be packaged in bottles since blister packaging would be up to standard.
Another change in the bidding documents would see candidates having the opportunity to submit proposals for supply of drugs for a specific category – unlike what was required before.
There will also be adjustments in the requirements to be met by suppliers as it relates to the validation of the standards of the drugs supplied.
“For instance, some of the requirements state that the suppliers should have lab facilities to test these medications, and that they should state for the last three years, their sources of drugs supplied as well as the ability to supply these mediations. Adjustments are being made in that respect,” he posited.
Dr Norton disclosed that these changes would soon be made and announced to the public.