The Health Corporation Limited (HCL), Government drugs procurement agency, has signed nine contracts with suppliers to provide medical sundries to the public health sector, costing $279 million.
The 18-month contracts cover some 142 items on the Ministry’s Vital, Essential and Necessary (VEN) list, including gloves, gauze, cotton, catheters and injection needles. The contracts were signed at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston on Tuesday (November 9).
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, explained that the Ministry is moving to strengthen inventory management for pharmaceutical preparations and medical sundries.
“This is one benefit that is expected to be realised with the impending integration of the HCL with the National Health Fund,” the Minister said, noting that this will reduce duplication, improve service delivery and streamline operations in pharmacy services.
Acting Managing Director of Health Corporation Limited (HCL),Yvette Martin (right), listens to Managing Director of Disposables Limited, Bernard March, at a signing ceremony for contracts between the Health Corporation Limited (HCL) and suppliers to provide medical sundries to the public health sector on November 9. Disposables Limited was one of the companies awarded contracts during the ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Mr. Spencer noted that although, apart from salaries, the purchase of pharmaceutical preparations and medical sundries is the single most costly item on the health budget, persons who benefit from these supplies have realised savings.
He said that, between April 1, 2008, when user fees were abolished, and June 2010, persons who benefit from drugs and medical sundries provided by the public health system saved $2.166 billion, due to the abolition of the fees. This represented 44.4 per cent of total savings of $4.883 billion over the 27-month period.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Jean Dixon, said that although the Ministry is making efforts to provide the essentials for the sector, it must scale up activities, to ensure greater accountability for the resources being made available at the points of service delivery.
“The environment of declining budgets, demands that scarce resources are properly utilised and accounted for throughout the health sector,” she stated.
She also pointed out that in April, 35 contracts were signed to provide pharmaceutical preparations to the sector.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer (left), presents General Manager of LASCO Group of Companies Limited’s Pharmaceutical Division, Jacqueline Johnson, with a contract awarded to LASCO for the supply of medical sundries to public health facilities. This was one of nine contracts today (November 9) between Health Corporation Limited (HCL) and suppliers of medical sundries to the public health sector, during a brief ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
“At that time, the Ministry of Health announced that we were able to negotiate more favourable payment terms with several of our suppliers, and this allowed us to better manage our obligations to the suppliers of pharmaceutical preparations,” she said.
Dr. Dixon noted, however, that the Ministry did not approach the current group of suppliers for better payment terms, but is serving notice that will be done.
The contracts ranged from just under $12.3 million to about $61 million. The HCL had invited bids for medical sundries by way of international competitive bidding process.
Shanghai Channelmed’s contract was valued at just over $12.2 million, for the supply of 33 items; Scientific and Medical Supplies Limited, $16.8 million to provide 17 items; Victus Inc., just under $23.9 million to supply two items; and Disposables Limited, just over $29 million for 10 items. Scientific Supplies and Technology, $29.5 million for 25 items; LASCO Distributors Limited, $31 million for nine items; A.A. Laquis Limited, $33.4 million for seven items; 3M InterAmerica Inc., $42.6 million for 12 items; and CARI-MED Limited, just over $61 million for 24 items.
A tenth contractor, Renal Dynamics LLC, who was absent from Tuesday’s signing, was awarded a $22.1 million contract for seven items.
HCL was established by the Ministry to procure, warehouse and distribute pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for public hospitals and health centres. However, under an amendment before Parliament, the National Health Fund (NHF) will assume management of procurement, warehousing and distribution, as well as manage Drug Serv (pharmacies), the retail arm of HCL.