JIS News

The Health Corporation Limited (HCL) has reported that the 2004/05 fiscal year was a successful one, with the agency having achieved or exceeded 86 per cent of its key performance indicators.
As contained in the HCL’s annual report for that period, which was tabled in the House of Representatives recently, the Corporation experienced its 10th successive year of profitability, making a net profit of $19.3 million. This was $11.76 million more than budgeted and $16.3 million more than the previous fiscal period.
The HCL achieved $601.4 million from sales in its distribution operations, with public sector hospitals and health departments accounting for 78 per cent of total sales. While the revenue from distribution operations fell short of the budget by $92.6 million, and customer categories except for the Drug Serv Programme showed a decrease over the previous period, the Corporation gained an income of $30.05 million from other business operations.
These included unrealized foreign exchange gains of $25.54 million, resulting in total income exceeding the budget by $28.9 million. According to the report, this significant gain on the foreign exchange was a direct result of the HCL’s policy to use a rate, over and above the Bank of Jamaica’s published weighted average selling rate, to book its US dollar denominated liabilities, with payment being performed at the rate of exchange in effect at the date of settlement.
In other activities, in accordance with the company’s five-year corporate plan, it continued to actively pursue the establishment of an incineration service during the review period. In addition, a new Drug Serv pharmacy was opened at the Diabetes Centre at 1 Downer Avenue.
The company also transferred its special discount price service offering to cancer and HIV/AIDS patients from its head office to the Drug Serv pharmacy at 2 Union Square, Cross Roads, making the service more easily accessible to a wider cross section of users.
The company also continued to act as the Ministry’s procurement agent for its HIV/AIDS programme, administering six tenders for the acquisition of antiretrovirals, drugs for post exposure, and laboratory reagents. These tenders were funded under the World Bank and Global Fund projects.
In addition, when the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP) came under the administration of the National Health Fund in 2004, the HCL facilitated the programme by making pharmaceuticals on the benefits list available to all JADEP provider pharmacies. As a result, some 130 pharmacies across the island were being serviced by the end of the review period. Some 823 requisitions were processed for providers during the year, with the private sector providers accounting for 91 per cent of these.
The HCL also continued to provide support for the Ministry’s immunization programme, the report said, by receiving, storing and issuing vaccines. The procurement of high quality products was also maintained, the report said.
In its efforts to obtain the best prices, the Health Corporation continued to do most of its procurement by way of international competitive tender. In keeping with the Ministry of Health’s revised Vital Essential and Necessary (VEN) list, the HCL increased the number of pharmaceutical items on the schedule of requirements for the 2005/06 tender from 597 to 702, representing an 18 per cent increase.
The report further said that some 69 per cent and 67 per cent of pharmaceuticals and medical sundries, respectively, were awarded at the same or lower prices than those for 2003/04.
The company also recruited staff to fill 16 posts, with 37 per cent filled by way of internal selection. Staff continued to benefit under the staff development programme through sponsored attendance at education conferences, seminars and workshops. The company also provided on-the-job training for tertiary level and high school students under its work experience programme.

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