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DOH keeping P296-M medicines nearing expiry at warehouses – COA

By Ben Rosario

Over P296 million worth of medicines that are close to expiration dates are stocked in warehouses of the Department of Health (DOH), the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed in its 2018 annual audit report.

COA said the medicines are part of the P18.5 billion drugs and pharmaceuticals purchased by the DOH from 2015 to 2018.

COA said the overstocking of medicines by the DOH has been noted by state auditors in past years but no action has been taken to prevent it.

According to COA, the drugs and medicines that were procured by the DOH Central Office “are still on hand at DOH Warehouses as of December 31, 2018.”

Out of the batch of purchased medicines, some P12,991.775 billion or 70.23 percent pertains to purchases in 2018 and P295.767 million or 2 percent are found to be nearing expiry, as of January 31, 2019.

State auditors said DOH has kept in warehouses “overstocked, slow moving, and idle” inventory items procured by DOH-Center of Health Developments (CHDs) and hospitals amounted to P52,049 million.

Records indicated that some of the medicines were purchased during the term of incumbent Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin when she was still Health secretary.

Part of the inventory was procured during the term of former Secretary Paulyn Ubial who was appointed by incumbent President Duterte in 2016.

Still, another batch of medicines was purchased by DOH under current Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

COA lamented the overstocking of medicines as Section 2 of Presidential Decree 1445 that states that the resources of the government “shall be managed, expended or utilized in accordance with law and regulations, and safeguarded against loss or wastage through illegal or improper disposition, with a view to ensuring efficiency, economy, and effectiveness in the operation of the government.”

In the same audit observation, the DOH was also reminded to comply with its own administrative directive providing that medicines purchased should not be less than two years from date of manufacture and not less than one and a half years from the date of delivery.

For donated medicines, shelf life should be at least one year from date of acceptance in accordance with the guidelines for drug donations published by the World Health Organization, COA said.

“The argument that short-dated products can be donated in the case of acute emergencies because they will be used rapidly, is incorrect. In emergency situations, the systems for reception, storage and distribution of drugs are very often disrupted and overloaded, and many donated drugs tend to accumulate,” the guidelines said.

COA noted that Section 25 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2018 (RA No. 10964) or the 2018 national budget states that: “The inventory of supplies, materials, and equipment spare parts to be procured shall not exceed the agency’s two-month requirement.”

COA likewise noted Section 7 of the 2016 revised implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) provides that: “All procurement shall be within the approved budget of the Procuring Entity and should be meticulously and judiciously planned by the Procuring Entity. Consistent with government fiscal discipline measures, only those considered crucial to the efficient discharge of governmental functions shall be included in the Annual Procurement Plan (APP).”

DOH keeping P296-M medicines nearing expiry at warehouses – COA DOH keeping P296-M medicines nearing expiry at warehouses – COA Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 9:39:00 AM Rating: 5

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