Guyana: Unable to promptly respond to the stunning prophecy of the massive deployment of expired medicines, the Leader of the Opposition, Joe Harmon, finally resorted to unmitigated lies. Let us be clear – the PPP administration inherited a situation with massive shot and medical supply shortages.
The Materials Management Unit (MMU) at Diamond in August 2020 provided between 0 to less than 10% of the medicines and quantities being requested by the countries.
Today, the MMU can provide between 81 and 100% of what the regions are requesting. The MOH has made significant growth in regularizing the supply chain, far ahead of the complete regularisation program by June 2021.
Since August 2020, more than $3B of expired medicines and medical supplies have been distributed.
All of those medicines and medical stocks were acquired/purchased by the APNU/AFC Government. The recent distribution of expired medications has been operating for different years, with the accumulated amount between 2016 and 2021 being approximately $10B.
The PPP regime, since August 2020, has been engaged in an aggressive procurement program to guarantee the regularization of the supply chain, which had collapsed in the last five years. During this competitive procurement program, the PPP Government has secured medicines and medical supplies from good standing companies. None of the companies that have been awarded settlements are under any restrictive list at this time. All drugs have been obtained by either selective tendering or open-competitive bidding.
After a lengthy period of total silence, the Leader of the Opposition was forced to respond to the embarrassing revelation that almost $10B of medicines and medical supplies have had to be discarded between 2015 and 2021 because they had expired.
His absurd reply was that all those medicines were left in the system by the PPP/C Government. He also anyhow linked the expiration to contracts awarded to Western Scientific, a Trinidad and Tobago-based company. The Leader of the Opposition, Joseph Harmon, is comprehensive “out to sea”, totally misinformed or lying. All the abandoned medicines and medical supplies were procured between 2015 and 2020.
As far as Western Scientific is involved, and the IDB banned Western Scientific’s allegation, Harmon again deliberately misinformed the public. If he was not lying, he was deceived, and he should hold those that provided him with fake information accountable.
Western Scientific has had a long commitment with the government, spanning more than two decades.
The IDB’s restriction of Western Scientific from bidding in IDB-funded projects was assassinated in October 2018. What is relevant is that throughout the period in which Western Scientific was prohibited from bidding for IDB-funded projects, the APNU/AFC administration continued to award contracts to Western Scientific.
In fact, from a quick review of the records, Western Scientific was awarded at least 25 vital contracts by the APNU/AFC administration in 2018 (2), 2019 (10) and 2020 (13). Strangely, APNU/AFC awarded and signed 5 contracts with Western Scientific on May 2, 2020, amounting to $936M. Similarly, in January 2020, they contracted 5 agreements with Western Scientific on the same day, worth more than $900M. Even more strangely, APNU/AFC’s 2018 arrangements with Western Scientific were signed in September 2018, but the IDB limitation was not removed until October 2018.
The PPP Government received many of those contracts and had to honour them. Those contracts were approved by the APNU/AFC Government and were awarded through both sole-sourcing (mainly) and competitive bidding processes. If Western Scientific was banned from the procurement process, how come APNU/AFC signed these contracts?
Western Scientific has maintained to respond to tenders that have been made since August 2020 and have been granted contracts based on competitive bidding during the new PPP government. No agreement has been awarded to any company since August 2020 that is on any qualificatory list.
The Leader of the Opposition’s ill-informed answer to the discovery of billions of dollars worth of prescriptions and medical supplies to cover up the truth.
It is either that he mis-informed the country as he was deliberately fed with erroneous data or lied about it. Either way, it is irresponsible for a leader of the opposition to behave in such away. The truth hurts, but we must confront it. The truth is that APNU/AFC mismanaged the supply chain. It is a large part of its failure between 2015 and 2020.
When taking over in August 2020, tablets and medical supplies, including much-needed COVID-19 PPE, were in chronic shortage.
The deficiencies were massive, and the MMU could only supply between 0% to less than 10% of the demanded medicines and medical supplies. This is even though the Diamond Warehouse and other storage sites were filled to the brim but supplied with either expired medications or supplies not usable in the health sector.
Each Region was required to procure at a high cost the medications and supplies they needed. The Regions spent all their resources but were unable to meet their needs.
The MOH, since August 2020, has been regularizing the way and can now inform the nation that the MMU can meet 81% of the overall requirements of the regional health system, thus reducing the need for RDC procurement. As registered before, we are hopeful that by June 2021, the MMU would meet all the regions’ needs for prescriptions and supplies.