Procurement system under review

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THE Health Department is doing its best to bring in quality medicines, says Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Elias Kapavore, pictured.
He said a major development partner, Asian Development Bank, was in the department to support and develop the department’s medical supply procurement and management system.
The minister said the procurement and distribution system was under review to ensure it efficiently delivered good quality medicines and medical supplies.
Kapavore made the statement in response to a front-page article in The National yesterday and said there were many challenges.
“Recently, there have been many incorrect and misleading information to the public and social media by an executive of the National Doctors Association (NDA),” he claimed.
“Such articles will only create unnecessary panic amongst the general public and must be corrected to assure our people that the Government, through the Department of Health, is working hard to ensure that basic and quality lifesaving medicines are available.
“I call on the NDA executives to exercise caution in its releases of information that they are not authorised to release.”
Kapavore said the National Executive Council recently approved two contracts for the supply of health centre and aid post kits and also for the supply of antibiotic drugs.
“Medical kits for health centres and aid posts are being packed in Port Moresby and will be transported to seven ports in the country before the end of August.
“For the antibiotics, it will be months before they are in the country. In the meantime, the department will procure emergency orders while awaiting the big orders to arrive.”
“Because of the delays in tender and all other processes outside the Health Department’s control, we will experience some shortages from time to time. But we will manage.”
Kapavore appealed to the NDA to not frustrate the procurement processes as any further delay to the already prolonged delays encountered, would cause critical medicine shortages.
“There are established legal processes for checks and balance that must be used to address any concerns,” he said
“These tenders went through a thorough screening process, through technical and financial evaluation committees, to ensure safety concerns are addressed.
“Under the Medicines and Cosmetics Act 1999, it is a legal requirement for any company dealing with pharmaceuticals in PNG to have a valid licence to import, wholesale and/or retail pharmaceuticals in the country.
“These licences are issued by the Pharmacy Board of PNG after specific requirements have been met and licences must be renewed annually.
“The Government is committed to improving the delivery of health services to our people and access to good quality medical supplies is a fundamental component of that commitment,” he said.

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