Allegations of Drug Supply monopoly

The Government will be reviewing the procurement process of medicines, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

“We are committed to do a critical review to achieve supply chain optimisation. We want to make sure the procurement cost of drugs and other consumables will not be so high,” he told reporters on Monday, June 25 2018.

Dr Dzulkefly said he will make sure issues related to third party concessions or any “monopoly issues” is handled properly and effectively. He said the Government may also buy medicines directly from manufacturers. 

Dr Dzulkefly added that the Health Ministry is looking into pooled procurement with other Ministries, such as the Defense Ministry. “With economies of scale, we will have better bargaining power. This will help to bring down the cost,” the Minister added.

“We want a real open tender system, where there is no collusion and no bid rigging. But this is easier said than done. We will look into how to practice this,” said Dr. Dzulkefly.

Dr Dzulkefly also said the Ministry will leave it to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the allegations regarding rigging of the open tender process for drug procurement. “Let the law take its course. The ministry will not interfere,” he said.

On June 13, a 12-page document was emailed to Dr Dzulkefly alleging that a monopoly controlling billions of ringgit worth of medicines supplied to the Government was linked to high-ranking officials and companies linked to certain politicians.

It also claimed that the tenders went to six main agents, who were collectively awarded RM3.4bil or 90.93% of the total sum.

During the interview with BFM89.9, Dr Dzulkefly said concessionaires such as Pharmaniaga take 35% in drug procurements given by the Ministry, together with five other companies.

Pharmaniaga was accused of monopolising the supply of medicines to the Ministry.

He said via the open tender process, international pharmaceutical companies through their local subsidiaries bid through a tendering agent.

“Where the Ministry's procurement tenders are concerned, they come in through the tendering agent. This tendering agent is given a commission of 3%,” he said.

 /theSTAR 25-06-2018

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