Audit report: Health Ministry emergency purchases caused loss of Rs. 5.1 billion

Audit report: Health Ministry emergency purchases caused loss of Rs. 5.1 billion

Written by Staff Writer

19 Apr, 2019 | 7:41 pm

Colombo (News 1st): The Auditor General’s report has uncovered irregularities at the Ministry of Health in 2015 and 2016.

The report has highlighted many irregularities that occurred at the medical supplies division of the Ministry of Health. Incidents, where medical drugs were disposed as they are unsuitable for human consumption or are harmful to the patients, had been reported in the past.

During the period between 2014 and 2016 alone 180 such medical drugs had been disposed. 117 of them had been imported from India, while 10 were imported from Pakistan and 8 were imported from Bangladesh.

The most surprising and concerning revelation is the fact that at the time the medicine was deemed unsuitable for human consumption, an amount between 32% to 100% of these stocks of medicine had already been issued to the general public.

The report states that these medical drugs unsuitable for human consumption were issued to patients treated for diabetes, epilepsy, and chickenpox. These unsuitable medicines were also given to pregnant mothers.

Defaulting suppliers not blacklisted

Instead of blacklisting the suppliers who supplied substandard medicine, officials had continued to import medical drugs from the very same suppliers.

The Auditor General’s report states that by failing to purchase adequate medicine in advance and opting for emergency purchases, the loss caused to the state during the past 10 years is Rs. 5.1 billion

Pills purchased at 100 times the SPC price

During the emergency purchase of medicine, a pill that could have been purchased for a price of 64 cents from the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation had been purchased at an exorbitant price of Rs. 64 per pill.

An injection that would usually cost Rs. 1058, had been purchased at Rs. 19,000 each. The audit report also revealed that hospitals had followed a similar approach when purchasing other medical equipment.

A pair of surgical gloves which could have been purchased for Rs. 35.26 was purchased by the Castle Street Women’s hospital at Rs. 57.25.

Unsuitable medicines cost millions

The Auditor General stated that the loss caused by the disposal of unsuitable medicine in 2015 was Rs. 234 million and in 2016 the loss was calculated at Rs. 602 million.

The Auditor General’s reports released during the past few days had revealed an array of malpractices at many state institutions.

The reports included irregularities during the construction of the Uma Oya project, details of gold is mixed with sand and being smuggled overseas, and questionable issues that caused the collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump.

The general public is well aware of those who line their pockets at the expense of the people through all these scams and malpractices. The general public of this country has to suffer and pay for the sins of corrupt officials and leaders.

Should these individuals be allowed to continue looting the country?

The time to decide is drawing near.

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