FIVE contracts for drugs and medicines of Lapu-Lapu City amounting to P3.51 million could be bought for only P1.8 million at the retail drugstore of the Department of Health (DOH), depriving the city a chance to save P1.66 million.
This the Commission on Audit bared in their city audit report in 2012, adding that the “city of Lapu-Lapu is persistent in acquiring its drugs and medicines requirement from local suppliers without first considering the availability of the items from the DOH.”
According to state auditors, five contracts which were undisclosed in the report were “disadvantageous” to the government because the DOH retail drugstore offered lower prices.
The contract, totaling P3.51 million “can be obtained for only P1.84 million at the government-owned DOH retail botica [drugstore].”
Although the Commission admitted that the state drugstore can only provide medicines listed in the Philippine National Drug Formulary, it would be to the advantage of the city to buy available items at the DOH drugstore.
The Philippine National Drug Policy aimed at making available and accessible, essential medicines of proven efficacy, safety and quality at affordable cost.
In conjunction with the Government Procurement Reform Act, the government encourages state agencies, especially the local government units, to contract directly to the state-run drugstores to save public funds instead of those offered by privately-owned pharmacies.
However, such is not the case in Lapu-Lapu, state auditors revealed. Although the bidding conformed with the law “the results however were not beneficial.
“The City government however, did not make use of such facility but preferred to procure its drugs and medicines requirement from private suppliers,” the Commission commented.
The city health officer of the Lapu-Lapu, whose name was not revealed, said that most of the drugs they bought were not available in the DOH drugstore.
Even more, a number of medicines, specifically cefalexin, cloxacillin, mefenamic acid and Verorab vaccine, are cheaper outside compared with the DOH drugstore.
“The DOH Botica had no ready stocks, that acquiring from them would only cause so much delay, thereby prompting the [bidding committee]to do another bidding for the unserved items,” the city hall stated.
It added that a cost-benefit analysis showed that it would be better if the city officials bought from private suppliers.
In a rejoinder, the Commission said that the contentions of the city health officer were undocumented “and therefore, has no basis.”
“The [bidding committee]has not presented proof that the city of Lapu-Lapu served a Purchase Request to the DOH Botica. Direct procurement from DOH Botica would entail only few processes,” auditors said.
Upon review of the 2012 price list of the medicines, auditors also found that the government pharmacy sells chea-per medicines “because these are sourced directly from manufacturers.”
The cost-benefit analysis also showed no costs, was not prepared and signed by the bidding committee and could not support the reply of the city hall.
The Audit agency recommended city officials to procure cheaper and available medicines at the DOH drugstore to save and sustain government-initiated projects.
It also tasked the bidding committee to scrutinize purchase requests and conduct market surveys at the DOH drugstore to obtain the most advantageous price for the people.