Natpharm to fast-track drugs procurement

Sharon Buwerimwe, Chronicle Reporter

THE National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm) has been given 48 hours to approach the local market to procure required drugs using RTGS dollars in a move meant to speed up the drug procurement process to address shortages in public hospitals.

In a statement, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) said it held a meeting on Tuesday with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and Natpharm to have an in-depth appreciation of what the main challenges were in procuring medicine and sundries for hospitals.

The regulatory authority said it had the meeting in response to a video clip in which Parirenyatwa Group of Hospital’s Paediatrics division head, Dr Azza Mashumba, said health officials were operating under very difficult circumstances. 

Dr Mashumba also said tender processes were contributing to acute shortage of medicines and sundries.

 PRAZ said Natpharm has several US dollar- based Nostro contracts that were outstanding which it could not service leading to drug shortages in public hospitals.

“After the outcry from public hospital officials about drug shortages, Natpharm received an unsolicited offer from a company to provide medicines and sundries to alleviate the shortage. 

The unsolicited offer amounts to $76 million RTGS worth of medicines and sundries and this was brought to PRAZ’s special Procurement Oversight Committee (SPOC) for review,” the authority said.

“The SPOC on review noted that the procurement process was not according to Section 4 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23] to ensure that procurement is effected in a manner that is transparent, fair, honest, cost effective and competitive.”

It said the meeting concluded that competitiveness cannot be assessed with one bid.

“Bids assessment requirements entail having many bids as there is a need for comparison given the nature of the pharmaceutical market that is mature and has many players. The meeting resolved that in view of the emergency situation in the hospitals, Natpharm be given 48 hours to approach the local market,” reads the statement. – @sharonbuwe

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