President Rodrigo R. Duterte (File photo)
MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte is urging the Department of Health (DOH) to distribute nearly expired medicines to minimize wastage of government funds.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after a Commission on Audit (COA) report showed that the DOH has accumulated PHP2.2 billion worth of medicines and other supplies in its inventory that are either expired, nearly expired, or overstocked and slow-moving.
Of the PHP2.2 billion, PHP29 million were expired, PHP1.14 billion were overstocked and PHP1 billion were near expiry.
“Ang mandato po ng Presidente sa DOH lalung-lalo na yung mage-expire na, pakidistribute na po nang hindi masayang at yung mga overstocked at slow-moving na po ilabas na po natin sa ating mga warehouse nang magamit ng ating taongbayan (The instruction of the President to the DOH, especially for medicines that are about to expire, please distribute them so they don’t go to waste and for overstocked and slow-moving to be released so they can be used by our citizens),” he said.
The COA report said the expired, nearly expired or overstocked and slow-moving medicines “hindered the maximum delivery of the highest quality of medical/health care services to the general public and entailed wastage of government funds.”
It attributed the problem to “poor inventory/supply management system covering procurement planning, monitoring, storage and acceptance/issuance/transfer/distribution of goods.”
“The occurrence of these expired, overstocked and nearly expired inventory items is a manifestation of an excessive expenditure since items were procured more than what is needed,” the COA report read.
Given the findings, the COA recommended the DOH to review procurement contracts to see if expired medicines may be returned and replaced by suppliers.
The COA also urged the DOH to exercise prudence in the use of government resources by ensuring that procurement is limited to those immediately needed or for the current year requirement.
It also recommended the strict implementation of the timeline on the distribution/transfer of the inventories.
The distribution of nearly expired medicines should also be expedited, the COA said.
The DOH said the expired or nearly expired medicines were purchased back in 2017 and 2018. (PNA)