PNG Agrees To Australian Independent Health Procurement Proposal

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Health Department to establish authority for imported medicines

By Elizabeth Miae

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 3, 2014) – The Department of Health has agreed to a proposal by the Australian government to establish an independent health procurement authority for a stringent process for imported medicines.

Secretary Pascoe Kase said yesterday that he would ensure that monitoring and checking of imported medicines met national and international standards and requirements.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato confirmed discussing the matter with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop and referred the proposal to the department to obtain details.

Kase said the government had taken responsibility for funding the supply and distribution of medications to health centres and aid posts kits through its contractor Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals (BPP).

He said as part of monitoring for quality checks on medicines, he plans to send technical teams to where the medicines were manufactured and packaged to inspect and report back.

He said the department had purchased two machines that would be used to test imported medicines before distribution to health facilities in the country.

On the issue with Australia’s decision to withdraw funding the health programme, Kase explained that Australia only offered to assist and did not provide the A$38 million (K83.52 million) funding.

"This year the government of PNG planned to take over the purchase and distribution of medicines using PNG laws," Kase said.

"Under the Medicines and Cosmetics Act, anyone dealing with medicines has to be registered with the Pharmaceutical Board.

He said although the Australian contractor International Dispensary Association, (IDA) a Holland-based company that supplied medicines in PNG for two years, had an excellent reputation, under PNG laws it was not registered with the Pharmaceutical Board and did not qualify.

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