By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor has raised concern over plans of the Department of Heath (DOH) to procure new supplies of medicine despite getting flagged earlier by Commission on Audit (COA) due to overstocking.
Defensor made that statement as the health department is asking an allotment of more than P19 billion under the proposed 2020 budget despite getting flagged by state auditors for keeping a large stockpile of unused supplies—some of which have either expired or are nearing expiry due to delayed distribution.
“The amount is P3.7 billion or 24 percent higher than the department’s P15.4-billion allocations this year for the same purpose,” said Defensor.
Defensor said he sees no problem with DOH’s purchase of new drugs and medicines, “as long as these benefit disadvantaged Filipinos.”
Last year, the DOH received a P15.6-billion worth of allocation to purchase drugs and medicines, including medical and dental supplies under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The DOH, as of December 31, 2018, had P18.449-billion worth of drugs and medicines purchased from 2015 to 2018 that have yet to be distributed to public health care facilities, according to COA’s 2018 annual report.
The inventory includes some P367-million worth of drugs and medicines that have already expired or are set to expire.
Defensor said he hopes that requested allocation by the health department do not just go to waste because of “bad inventory management and logistical issues in getting the supplies to the provinces.”
The former cabinet secretary said the DOH should consider engaging the services of private logistics service providers to seamlessly handle the warehousing and distribution of the new supplies.
“If the department can afford to spend billions of pesos every year to buy new drugs and medicines, surely it can also afford to pay for private contractors to get the supplies moving fast,” he said.
Defensor earlier filed House Resolution No. 145, urging the Committee on Health to get to the bottom of the COA report that flagged the DOH’s overstocking of drugs and medicines.