THE Perikatan Nasional (PN) regime will be putting aside a policy set by its predecessor that sought to streamline procurement for medicine and provide better cost-savings for public hospitals, people familiar with the matter tell FocusM.
An industry source said the Health Ministry had decided to go with the status quo of having three channels as opposed to pooled procurement.
It is not exactly known why the ministry decided to not proceed with the policy. But according to sources, the government had delayed the tender call to supply drugs across public hospitals to the fourth quarter of this year with the awarding of contracts expected to take an extra year.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) was to embark on a pooled procurement method that sought to centralise and combine tender and procurement worth RM500 mil across hospitals under the health, education and defence ministries.
Then finance minister Lim Guan Eng announced this last year during the tabling of Budget 2020, where he said that the move would help the government save from bulk purchases.
“As an example of how the government will continue to innovate to optimise expenditure, the government will centralise and combine the tender and procurement of RM500 mil worth of medicine across the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defence and university hospitals to generate savings from bulk purchase,” Lim had said.
The PH government did not extend Pharmaniaga Bhd’s 25-year concession that ended on Nov 30 last year.
The pharmaceutical group, which was the sole concessionaire, was given a 25-month lifeline to ensure a smooth transition to an open tender system for the procurement of drugs and medical equipment as well as distribution and logistics.
Then health minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the mechanism for the open tender was supposed to be ready by the first quarter of this year, to avoid disruption to the ministry’s medical supplies and health services.
But a change in government witnessed the ousting of then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the collapse of the PH government.
PN took over Putrajaya in March with Muhyiddin Yassin sworn in as prime minister. – June 25, 2020