PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Procurement Authority has stopped health department from purchasing medicines for public sector hospitals on the complaint of a Lahore-based pharmaceutical firm, disqualified on the basis of cogent reasons earlier, according to sources.
On October 4, KPPRA stayed procurement of medicines for government hospitals after an appeal was lodged by M/S Fynk Pharmaceuticals Lahore that its bid was rejected by the director general health services (DGHS) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that amounted to injustice.
Authorities in health department said that the entire process was smooth and transparent and the stay order by KPPRA caused severe shortage of medicines including lifesaving drugs at public sector hospitals, which received the stuff free of cost.
They said that the relevant firm committed a fraud during the last financial year while during the current year various discrepancies were observed in its affairs. They added that sufficient time was given to the firm to prove any injustice in the process of awarding contract but it failed to do so.
KPPRA issues stay order on complaint by pharmaceutical firm; decision to adversely affect patients
Last month, DGHS in a letter informed the firm that after sharing the bid evaluation report of 2020-21 that it had confessed in writing of manufacturing and supplying stocks to the health institutions of the province in contravention to Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Act 2012 and violated the contract rules of Medical Coordination Cell (MMC).
He said that a team of MMC experts during inspection observed and reported that M/S Fynk Pharmaceutical was found indulged in the manufacturing of medicines in packing and packaging units, which were neither approved nor registered by DRAP. He said that the firm also violated rules framed under Drug Act to reduce the cost of materials.
The firm was told that it breached contract by supplying low quality unit carton and it was accepted by its representative in a written statement. The DGHS also issued the firm a show-cause notice for year 2020-21.
Sources said that the firm got a stay order from KPPRA. They claimed that KPPRA granted stay order in M/S Fynk pharmaceuticals case without issuing any notice to health department which was illegal. They added that KPPRA stopped the entire process of procurement of medicines with a single stroke of pen.
The health department has informed KPPRA that its four different committees of experts have pointed nine disqualification points after physical inspection team and poor compliance on the part of the firm.
According to officials it had 70 plus highly qualified and technical persons involved in preparation of MMC list of approved medicines and carrying out comprehensive evaluation and critical process for selection of drugs to be procured by MCC. The department procures drugs, medical devices and disposable items worth Rs6 billion for supply to public sector hospitals for free provision to the patients.
Sources said that there was no example in other provinces that non-technical people made decisions about medicines. They said in the whole world no stay order would be found in the case of essential lifesaving medicines. They added that only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa such appeals were being heard by non-technical person and that too without getting the take of the administrative department.
Every year, MCC approves list of medicines after cumbersome process before advertising the required items through media which is followed by technical and financial evaluation during which three days are given to the bidders to lodge complaints against the process.
The health secretary, aggrieved parties and other officials sit together to address the complaints. But now the entire process has been stopped.
Sources said that stoppage of procurement process of medicines would adversely affect patients in government hospitals. The health department has constituted committees of experts which have analysed the complaints of the firm and reported that no injustice has been done.
“There should be experts in KPPRA to decide about matters relating to lifesaving medicines and other medical supplies, which are termed as complex goods and requires extreme care while deciding its fate,” said sources.
The KPPRA officials couldn’t be reached for comments.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2021