THE Department of Health (DOH) is curing P17.5 million of expired and nearly expiring medicines due to lack of planning and monitoring.
In the latest report of the Commission on Audit, auditors discovered a total of P17.5 million of either expired or unused medicines because of “lack of proper planning, monitoring and control on utilization or distribution.”
Most of the expired drugs are in the Center for Health Development (CHD) in the Bicol region where 38,450 of Tamiflu worth P5.61 million was left beyond expiration date.
In Manila, anti-tuberculosis drugs both in the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City and the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Quezon City worth P339,084.19 were not used.
“Anti-TB drugs with near expiry dates were received and accepted from CHD-Metro Manila despite the absence of specific recipients though they were intended for pediatric patients under the TB DOTS [directly observed treatment, short-course]program which have not yet started,” the report read.
Also, an assortment of drugs and medicines at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center worth P620,741.26 suffered lack of monitoring resulting to expiration.
In Batanes General Hospital, a total of 1,538 packs of medicines out of the 3,839 boxes were “expired for almost two years” because thse have to be issued per pack and patients preferred to buy apiece outside.
Meanwhile, overstocking of medicines also plagued public hospitals.
In Tondo Medical Center, there was overlapping of purchases and deliveries of drugs, medicines and other medical supplies that amounted to P1.74 million.
These medicines were obtained from other funds because of non-coordination between the different departments and offices of the hospital.
In the Southern Isabela General Hospital, a total of P9.11 million merchandise inventory procured almost monthly increased significantly “while patients served has no significant increase,” prompting the drugs, medicines and other medical supplies to be placed on sale.
In total, these expired and oversupply of drugs fetched P17.5 million, which auditors said could have been prevented if proper monitoring was in place.
The audit team asked the DOH and hospitals to fast track the distribution of drugs and medicines to intended beneficiaries and observe the normal three-month requirements in their purchases of drugs.
There should also be sufficient coordination and planning in the purchase of drugs, considering the need and expiration of the medicines, the auditors said. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON