Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire | RTVM

The Department of Health (DOH) downplayed the Commission on Audit’s annual audit findings saying only P29 million worth of medicines were expired, not P2.2 billion as the COA earlier reported.

The COA earlier reported that the health department has accumulated P2.2 billion worth of expired, overstocked, or nearly expired medicines as well as medical and dental supplies for the year 2019.

P29 million of the P2.2 billion were expired while P1.14 billion were overstocked, and P1 billion were near expiry.

“Ito pong P1 billion na near expiry, lahat po iyan ay na-distribute na from January to August 2020. Iyong [another] P1 billion na overstocked or slow moving, nagkaroon na rin ng distribution from January to August 2020 at P322 million na lang ang natitira. Scheduled na po ang distribution nito until the end of the year,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained in an online forum.

She also clarified that P29 million expired items were largely composed of dental kits.

 “It is down to 840 dental kits set for distribution,” Vergeire said.

She also shared that the health department has already created a logistics and warehousing unit to solve the distribution backlog.

“Hindi po namin ikinakaila na may challenges sa distribution, kaya nga po nagkaroon kami ng unit na ito,” she added.

The DOH is expected to complete its distribution of P2 billion worth of medicines as well as medical and dental supplies by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the COA has earlier endorsed the DOH to take the following steps:

  • review the contracts, especially those of existing suppliers
  • exercise prudence in the use of government resources by ensuring that procurement is limited to those immediately needed or for the current year requirement
  • strictly implement the timeline on the distribution/transfer of the inventories
  • expedite the distribution of the nearly expired medicines
  • formulate internal control policies necessary to minimize the occurrence of expired drugs such as establishing adequate control on custodianship, issuances, and stock level monitoring through the maintenance of inventory database or computerized system, among others.

RJ Espartinez