Angara—DOH should explain overstocking of billions worth of medicine in its warehouses

Posted on: Thu, 08/01/2019 - 07:43 By: admin
Senator Sonny Angara's resolution to investigate DOH's overstocking of medicines

With so many Filipinos struggling to find ways to gain access to medicine due to lack of funds, Senator Sonny Angara aired his concern over the continuing problem of the Department of Health (DOH) with the overstocking of drugs and medicine.

Angara, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, has filed a resolution calling for an inquiry into the overstocking of close to P20 billion worth of drugs and medicine by the DOH in its warehouses, as cited by the Commission on Audit in its 2018 report on the agency.

According to Angara, the DOH’s “perennial problem with undistributed expired drugs” will also be a “major point of interest” in the upcoming Senate hearings on the proposed 2020 budget of the agency.

Angara said the Health Department’s wastage of hundreds of millions worth of medicines “is becoming like dengue, it has become an annual thing.”   

“And to think, many Filipinos for lack of money can’t buy medicine or are undermedicating themselves. And then they read reports about drugs in some government warehouses going to waste,” Angara added.  

Angara said DOH officials who will appear before his panel “should be ready with a plan on how to end this problem.”  

“Maghanda na sila ng prescriptions. Diagnose the problem and come up with solutions. Kung constipated ang drug distribution system, then what is the laxative?” he said.    

In its annual audit report on the DOH for 2018, the COA noted that over P18 billion worth of drugs and medicine were stocked up inside its warehouses, a significant portion of which were approaching their expiry dates.

The COA also found that over P30 million worth of drugs and medicine distributed to various centers for health development, treatment for rehabilitation centers, and hospitals were already expired.

The overstocking of drugs and medicine has been a problem of the COA over the past few years, steadily increasing from P10 billion in 2015 to P11.3 billion in 2016, P16 billion in 2017 and P18.4 billion in 2018.

A total of P367.1 million worth of drugs and medicine were found to be nearing expiry, raising concerns that these would almost certainly go to waste.

Angara said DOH should review its entire drug supply chain from procurement to stocking in hospital pharmacies.    

“Is it a question of overprescription or the prescription of the wrong drugs? Ang national order form ba based on needs or supplier-driven? Saan ba ang bara sa distribution?” he said.