Duterte orders immediate distribution of P2-B medicines to needy before expiry dates

Published October 6, 2020, 4:05 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has authorized the immediate distribution of more than P2 billion worth of medicines purchased by the Department of Health (DOH) before their expiry dates to benefit those in need.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his talk to the people at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on October 5, 2020.

The President issued the latest directive to health department after the Commission on Audit (COA) released a report on the near expiry and overstocking of drugs and medicines worth P2.2 billion, according to his spokesman Harry Roque.

“Ang mandato po ng Presidente sa DOH, lalung-lalo na yung mag-e-expire na, paki-distribute na po para hindi masayang (The President’s mandate to the DOH is to distribute the medicines especially those nearing expiry so it will not be wasted),” Roque said during a Palace press briefing Tuesday.

“’Yung mga overstocked at slow-moving naman ay ilabas na natin sa ating mga warehouse nang magamit ng ating taumbayan (The overstocked and slow-moving medicines must also be released from our warehouses to they can be used by the public),” he said.

The audit commission recently reported that around P2.2 billion worth of medicines and medical supplies purchased by DOH have expired, overstocked or nearly expired. The commission has attributed the situation to the health department’s supposed poor procurement planning, inefficient and uncoordinated transfer of distribution and lack of monitoring and proper storage.

The auditors noted that these have disrupted the delivery of highest quality of health care services to the public as well as “entailed wastage of government funds.”

Citing a report from Health Undersecretary Ma. Rosario Vergeire, Roque said the health department clarified that it has only P30 million worth of expired drugs.

Around P1.2 billion medicines and supplies however remained “overstocked, slow-moving or idle” but have not yet expired. An additional P1.2 billion medicines are “near expiry,” Roque said.