$1B in expired drugs to be dumped

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The Ministry of Health has budgeted $3.2B to remedy a drug shortage in the public healthcare system, even as the Government prepares to dump over $1B worth of drugs that have expired.

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony on Thursday revealed that the new Government has inherited a total of 1,663,032 drugs valued at $742M which have expired and sitting at the Diamond drug bond.

“While the MMU medical warehouse at Diamond was filled to the brim, unusable items were taking up space,” the Health Minister told the National Assembly on Thursday during the 2020 budget debate.

He said another $200M in items are scheduled to expire by the end of December.

“Close to $1B would have been wasted on expired medicines and supplies,” he noted.

Further, to dispose of the expired medical items, the Minister said $3M will be spent to move them from the MMU to the dumpsite.

Dr Anthony blasted the former APNU+AFC Government for failing to provide basic medicines to Guyanese.

According to the Minister, a survey was conducted at the Materials Management Unit (MMU) on August 5, 2020, which revealed that a total of 206 medical drugs and supplies including drugs used for hypertension, heart problems, diabetes, tuberculosis, HIV and Malaria were not purchased.

“Right now as I speak, there is a shortage of antibiotics in the system,” the Health Minister told the National Assembly Thursday during the 2020 budget debate.

These types of medications are provided free to patients who visit the public health centres and hospitals.

Dr Anthony said that 50 types of medical supplies were not in stock including X-ray film, thermometers, insulin syringes and Oxygen nebulizers.

“We now have to go and procure on emergency basis…to immediately rescue this situation, the Government has to allocate $3.2B to make that emergency purchase of drugs and medical supplies, the tenders of which are opening today (Thursday),” the Minister said.

The Ministry of Health has an overall budget of $14.3B to ensure there is an adequate stock of medicines and medical supplies in the year ahead.

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