Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Attempt at major corruption at the Medical Supplies branch Health Dept

Attempt at major corruption at the Medical Supplies branch Health Dept

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Will the Prime Minister step in and stop this attempt at grand theft before it is approved?

By Profs Nakapi Tefuarani & Glen Mola (PNG Medical Association)

There have been many reports in the daily print media about suspected corruption with regards procurement by the National Department of Health for the medicines and other medical supplies required by the hospital, health centres and aid posts of the country, – including  “Fake drugs sold widely in PNG”.  “Fake drugs on the market”  “Sweep team eyes Health Dept

It seems that this year the process will be corrupt once again.  Medical supplies procurement is worth up to K100m per year, – so this is no small money we are talking about.

The story of 2014 medical supplies procurement starts on May 6th this year when the Health Dept. put out a request through the Central Supply and Tenders Board (CSTB) for a 3 year contract for procurement of health centre (medical supply) kits by international tender with a closing date of 30.5.2013.  The tender request states that suppliers who wish to put in tenders must meet certain standards,  ie, have

  • International Standards Organization (ISO9001:2008)  for Quality Management System Accreditation of the Tenderer
  • Quality assurance covering supply chain, manufacture and delivery of medical supply kits
  • Certification for Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) of the medicines to be supplied and Good Distribution Practice (GDP).

The deadline for tenders was the end of May.  However, someone must have realized that the Tenderer who is renowned for giving presents to people in the government procurement system did not have ISO ‘Quality Management System Accreditation”, because at the end of May the CSTB extended the deadline for tenders submission to 20th June.  And then on the 6th June, the Secretary for Health announced that the requirement that tenders must have ISO Quality Management System Accreditation was removed.

On the 20th June the CSTB had a meeting which revealed the following tenders submitted:

Company Tender Bid (Kina) ISO Quality Management System Accreditation ?
Sesago Ltd 111,329,916 No
Boucher & Muir Ltd 108,436,029 No
Green Limited 99,480,703 No
Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Ltd 71,478,316 No
International Dispensary Association (IDA) 51,142,940 Yes
Missionpharma/City Pharmacy Limited 48,028,677 Yes

The CSTB uses a multi parameter method of evaluating tenders; the bidding price is just one of the factors taken into account.  Other factors include whether the bidding company “understands the project objectives”, “the methodology and resourcing of the bid” (ie quality medicines will be supplied) and whether the company “supports local industry”.  Information is that the CSTB has recommended to government that the K71m bid by Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Ltd be accepted.  Search of the PNG Companies office reveals that this company is owned by two Malaysian businessmen.

Research published internationally shows that there have been a lot of substandard and counterfeit drugs brought into PNG in the recent past.  In 2011, Nair et al in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences reported that all samples of medicines supplied to PNG from the North China Pharmaceutical Group did not meet quality standards and one sample was clearly counterfeit (ie. a non active substance masquerading as medicine – usually starch or flour). Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals gets a lot of its medicines for importing to PNG from the North China Pharmaceutical Group.

A lot of money from overseas development partners assists PNG in the supply and distribution of medicines around the country.  AusAID has supported the Dept of Health with hundreds of millions of kina over the past several years and last year sponsored the distribution of health centre kits to every health facility in the country.  This resulted in remote health facilities receiving adequate supplies of medicines for the first time in many years. AusAID have agreed to distribute medical supplies again in 2014 as long as the tendering process for procurement is transparent and leads to the procurement of quality certified medicines.  However, if the successful bidder procures medicines from non-GMP (International Good Manufacturing Process) certified products Ausaid will withdraw its support.  Then we will be left with local ‘wantok’ distribution companies sending out low quality and possibly counterfeit medicines to our hospitals and health centres.  This will lead to the deaths of many Papua New Guineans and also much disability.  We all need say “NO”.

The Medical Society of PNG appeals to the Prime Minister to reject the recommendation from the CSTB in this case, and insist that tenders for the nation’s medicines only be accepted from ISO Quality Management System accredited companies who promise to only supply medicines from GMP accredited manufacturers.  Could the leaders of all public spirited organizations please support the Medical Society in the matter.

  1. Willie Douglas
    November 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    WOW no wonder some of the local contractor at the Provincial level who have engaged to distributes medicine to Remote clinic areas have been ceased,,, I supposed correct my if am wrong…

  2. Fury
    November 26, 2013 at 9:32 am

    From the information provided , the two bidders with ISO Quality Management system Accreditation are low tender amount bidders . Obviously the ones without are higher to include cost present to government officials to accept their non-conformance at the cost of risking health of PNG People. –

  3. Yalkinde
    November 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Borneo Pacific already won the contract and as reported in the dailies last week the Governor General approved the contracts. The 2 malaysians businessmen owners of Borneo Pacific were seen toasting with the GG on the front pages.

  4. Yaltom
    November 27, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    So the free health policy for the Government will end up with free low quality medications causing more deaths. PETER ONIEL is a murderer on a grand scale! can’t the other MPs see and mobilise and do something!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. kanex Kanarepa
    November 28, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I have given up taking the useless pain killers at 6 mile clinic which is large and hard to swollow and is not effective in suppressing the migrane. It only helps me for an hour compared to the panadol I buy at the chemist is very effective and can subdue the pain for 6 to 8 hours by a single dose of 2.

    A small comparison but big difference to show the tip of the huge icebeg. God help this country and the poor people!!

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