The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged P2.2-billion worth of expired, overstocked and nearly expired medicines, including medical and dental supplies of the Department of Health (DOH).

In the commission’s 2019 annual audit report on the DOH, state auditors found out that the Health Department still has an existing inventory of expired, overstocked or nearly expired medicines and medical/dental supplies worth P2.2 billion. The COA also said that poor procurement planning; inefficient and uncoordinated transfer/distribution; and lack of monitoring and proper storage are the main cause of these wasted supplies.  

P29 million of the P2.2 billion pesos are expired medicine; P1.14 billion were overstocked; and P1 billion were near expiry.

The COA also said that the DOH violated Section 2 of the Government Auditing Code. Under the rule, “all resources of the government should be managed, expended or utilized in accordance with law and regulations, and safeguarded against loss or wastage through illegal or improper disposition, with a view to ensuring efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the operations of government.”

“The occurrence of these expired, overstocked and nearly expired inventory items is a manifestation of an excessive expenditure since items were procured more than what is needed. It is a result of poor inventory/supply management system covering procurement planning, monitoring, storage and acceptance/issuance/transfer/distribution of goods,” the COA said.

COA also said that the factors “hindered the maximum delivery of the highest quality of medical/health care services to the general public and entailed wastage of government funds.”

The COA has endorsed the health department 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.

 

Fifteen billion pesos were allocated to the DOH in the 2019 national budget for the procurement of drugs, medicines and vaccines, including medical and dental supplies for distribution to various government health care facilities in the country. 

Eighty percent of the said amount were allocated to provinces with high cases of diseases as long as no amount will be used to purchase dengue vaccines. RJ Espartinez