Sen. Sonny Angara (right) has filed a resolution for the Senate to investigate the COA findings on the DOH’s overstocked and expiring medicines.  With him during a committee hearing is Sen. Manny Pacquiao. (Senate photo)

Sen. Sonny Angara filed a resolution on Wednesday, July 31, calling on the Senate to look into the Commission on Audit (COA) findings on overstocked and expiring drugs and other medical supplies of the Department of Health’s (DOH) warehouses.

Senate Resolution No. 53 seeks to investigate and look into the overstocking and distribution of drugs and medicines nearing expiration.

Angara said the “perennial problem with undistributed expired drugs” is among their key points of discussion in the upcoming Senate hearings on the proposed 2020 budget of the DOH.

“And to think, many Filipinos for lack of money can’t buy medicine or are undermedicating themselves. And then they read reports about drugs in some government warehouses going to waste,” he said.

Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said DOH officials should prepare “a plan on how to end this problem” prior to appearing before his panel.

The COA noted in its 2018 annual audit report of the DOH a steady increase of overstocked drugs and medical supplies in the Health department’s inventory,  from P10 billion in 2015 to P18.4 billion in 2018. The Commission revealed that over P18 billion worth of drugs and medical supplies that were stocked up inside its warehouses were nearing expiration.

Over P30 million worth of drugs and medicine were also reported to have already expired at the time they were distributed to various health and rehabilitation centers across the country whilw over P367.1 million worth of drugs and medicine were found to be nearing expiry.

Angara suggested the DOH to thoroughly review its entire drug supply chain from procurement to stocking in hospital pharmacies. (Jillian Lopez)