Papua New Guinea Government Oversight Leads To Critical Drug Shortages

Medical supply contract not renewed for more than a year

By Nellie Setepano

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 15, 2017) – The Government’s administrative oversight has led to the non-renewal of the K56 million [US$17 million] contracts for medical drug supplies for more than a year.

This has led to a medicine drug shortage in health facilities.

Given the importance of medical drugs, an interim arrangement for contract extension was made through the State Solicitor Office for a certificate of expediency to contractor Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd to continue supplying medical kits for a year – from November 2016 to November 2017.

Finance Secretary and Acting Chairman of the Central Supply and Tenders Board Dr Ken Ngangan admitted yesterday it was an administrative system delay from various agencies, including the major player Health Department, which overlooked the contract renewal.

This means that Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals will continue to supply medical drugs until November. The contract was for 100 per cent medical kits worth K75 million [US$23 million] for a period of three years but after two years a review by the Health Department showed that the quality of service had dropped.

Dr Ngangan said that during the one year extension, new tenders will be called for to supply medical drugs for the next three years. He added he has written to Health Secretary Pascoe Kase to make an allowance to fast track new contacts so delays may not occur again.

Mr Kase said yesterday the Health Department has medicines to distribute to health facilities and refuted media reports of a shortage of medical drugs.

"Some facilities running short of particular drugs is something that can be managed," he said, adding that the department can procure and supply emergency medicines to facilities which run out due to late placement of orders.

He said funding was not an issue. "We are making payments to hospitals and church health services," Mr Kase added.

PNG Post-Courier
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