ANOTHER $1.1 billion in expired medical, laboratory, and diagnostic supplies have been dumped following the completion of an audit of the medical supplies sent to all the administrative regions, according to Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony.
Recently, it was reported that the ministry dumped $3 billion in expired drugs and medical supplies from its Materials Management Unit (MMU) and other health facilities, following audits done by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government.
In total, Dr. Anthony previously related that, based on available records, about $10 billion in drugs and supplies were dumped over the past five years under the previous administration.
The newly discovered $1.1 billion in expired medical supplies, according to Dr. Anthony, also expired before the PPP/C assumed office, last year.
The prevalence of these expired supplies led to shortages in drugs and supplies, with many of the regional authorities being unable to meet the drug needs of their constituents.
“While we have been able to validate what has expired in those regions, we have been working hard to ensure that we have adequate supplies for those regions,” the minister said via a video statement on Thursday.
He also added: “We have not stabilised the situation… not everything that the regions want they can get right now (because) there are still a few drugs that would be short and as we get those crates coming into the MMU, we’re trying to manage that.”
To remedy the drug shortage situation, Minister Anthony reminded the public that emergency tenders were issued to procure much needed medical supplies.
He noted that about $11.5 billion in supplies have been distributed to regions; this includes: pharmaceuticals worth $5.6 billion, medical supplies worth $877 million and laboratory and diagnostic supplies worth $5 billion.
He also noted that additional orders made through emergency procurement are now coming in.
Meanwhile, as he related before, the Health Minister said that the wastage of the drugs and supplies has been worrying due to the exorbitant amount of money spent on the supplies.
As such, he underscored that the audit would inform where the issues occurred and how the situation could be remedied.
It was previously noted that efforts have been made to fix the previously defunct modern warehouse Management Information System (MIS) at the MMU and install pharmaceutical monitors in each administrative region to reduce future shortages.
Additionally, Dr. Anthony also said, before that, he expects that recommendations from the audit will inform efforts to hold the persons responsible for mismanagement of the drugs and supplies accountable.