Medicine Monitoring Project 2 concludes this month

by Edgar E. Camenting, NAMFREL Project Coordinator
from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.23
Namfrel's Medicine Monitoring Project 2 ends this October. The project was implemented in 28 Department of Health (DOH) hospitals and Centers for Health Development (CHDs) across the country with a commitment of support from DOH. The implementation of the project was supported through a grant from the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF). The success of the project was due to the participation of Namfrel chapters, partners and individual volunteers in making the process of procurement and contract implementation more transparent and compliant to the provisions of the Government Procurement Reform Act 9184.

As of July 2011, a total of Php 1 billion pesos worth of Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) for pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical products had been observed in 28 select hospitals and CHDs.

Procurement Observations

Based on feedback from volunteers, some volunteer-observers were not invited to the postqualification stage despite constant coordination with the Bids and Awards Committees (BACs). This was evident in four NCR and a northern Luzon-based hospital.
Namfrel team leaders from these hospitals were just advised to secure specific documents to track the result.

Furthermore, Namfrel observed that the BAC of another northern Luzon-based medical center awarded a contract worth Php 43.9 million for a project with an ABC of Php 40.3 million, a difference of Php 3.6 million. Moreover, in a northern Mindanao hospital, the BAC recommended to award a contract worth Php 3.1 million to a project with an ABC of only Php 2.8 million for the procurement of drugs and medicines. Similar cases were observed in the past.

In addition, despite a letter of request, documents such as minutes of the BAC meeting, Annual Procurement Plan, and Notices of Awards were not immediately provided by several hospitals and took months before they were handed to volunteers.
Contract Implementation Observations

As of July 2011, NAMFREL had monitored a total of Php 230.5 million delivered medicines or 44% of the Php 520.8 million awarded procurement contract in twenty-two (22) DOH hospitals and CHDs.

Meanwhile, Php 124.8 million or 23% of the Php 520.8 million procurement contracts were allocated to DOH hospital beneficiaries based on inventory reports of nineteen (19) DOH hospitals and CHDs.

Based on feedback from volunteers, documents from seven hospitals and CHDs needed in the monitoring were not provided immediately to them resulting to delay in monitoring and submission of reports.

Namfrel observed that hospitals and CHDs had varying forms and practices in dispensing medicines, thus volunteers found it difficult to determine if there was an existing procedure for requesting and dispensing of medicines. Furthermore, these documents were not properly accomplished by the hospital personnel. In one hospital for instance, the purpose of request and issuance of medicines was not indicated in a report.

Moreover, most of the acceptance reports from an NCR-based health institution were not signed by the Chief of the Inspection Unit validating goods inspected by the agency inspector were complete and met the specification.

In past years, Namfrel's medicine monitoring project also played a crucial role in helping the DOH improve its warehousing and logistics system as well as in helping hospitals to come up with reasonable bid prices without sacrificing the quality of medicines.