…which GPHC was seeking approval to get from ANSA McAl
The Public Health Minister and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) have come under scrutiny after information came to the fore that the Hospital under the blessings of the subject Minister, Volda Lawrence, sought approval for over $605 million worth of pharmaceuticals deemed “emergency purchases” from a preferred supplier; ANSA McAL, without having to activate the tendering process.
Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GPHC, Allan Johnson wrote to the Chairman of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), Berkley Wickham in a letter dated February 28, 2017, seeking approval for the “emergency medical supplies”.
The letter, which was seen by INews, stated that the emergency supplies were authorised by Minister Volda Lawrence.
Moreover, the letter outlined that “the pharmaceuticals supplied by this company [ANSA McAL] was at the time of request available only from this supplier”.
This essentially means that GPHC was/is seeking to obtain $605 million worth of drugs from ANSA McAL only, at the exclusion of other competitors, something that observers and stakeholders have condemned as anti-transparent, bordering on corruption and hints at “kickbacks”.
More egregious, they say, is that some of the prices quoted by ANSA McAL for the drugs listed were inflated well beyond the normal selling price range.
According to a source, “given the enormity of the value being sourced from ANSA McAl, preliminary checks were conducted which revealed that the prices have been inflated, sometimes as much as ten times the current prices being offered by other bidders under public tenders. For instance ANSA McAl’s price for Aciclovir 250mg 2ml injection is G$6,880 compared to G$730 offered by other bidders, while their price for Clotrimoxazole Cream 20g is G$1, 750 compared with $95 and for Anti-haemorrhoidal ointment 30g Ansa Mcal’s price is $2,150 as compared to $200.”
An invoice from ANSA McAl’s Pharmaceutical Manager, Sunesh Maikoo, was also attached to the letter seen by Inews.
A total of 118 drugs were listed, with their description, units of measurement, quantity, unit price and overall totals respectively. Aciclovir which the source mentioned above, carried a unit price of $6,880 and the quantity demanded was 4,800, totaling $33,024,000.
Based on the comparative prices of other bidders outlined by the source of $730 and using the quantity demanded (4,800), the total quantity at the competitive price would have amounted to $3,504,000. A noticeable difference of $29,520,000 based on the price listed by the source.
Inews was not able to confirm from other entities, the prices for Aciclovir 250mg 2ml injection, but the same drug in a tablet form was sourced from different locations with prices varying from around $60 to $100 per one 200mg tablet.
This publication was also informed that the GPHC reportedly delayed, and then cancelled five public tenders within the last four months.
These tenders were advertised on October 2, 2016, November 6, 2016 and February 2, 2017 respectively.
Observers are questioning whether the delays were deliberate and “engineered” to facilitate one company to receive the bulk of the transactions.
Attempts to solicit comments and clarifications from the GPHC’s CEO and the Public Health Minister proved futile.