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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Lacson suspects ‘mafia’ may be behind overstocking of DOH medicine supply

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson is going after a suspected “mafia” behind the annually overstocked medicine supply of the Department of Health (DOH) said to be “expired” or nearing expiry dates.

At Wednesday’s Senate hearing of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Public Accountability, Lacson presented a Commission on Audit (COA) report which noted that from 2013 up to 2020, over P2.376 billion of public funds were wasted in buying “expired or about to expire” medicine supplies.

The senator, citing COA findings, noted  this was the biggest wasted medicine supply ordered by DOH, but cannot be distributed to intended beneficiaries, resulting in multi-billion-peso public funds misused.

He noted that the biggest wasted medicine supply delivery was in 2019 amounting to P2.2 billion, but can no longer be distributed being way past expiry dates.

According to Lacson, having a long experience in his early years of public service as a crack investigator, he could sense the existence of a mafia at the DOH cannot be crushed because those involved are insiders, who are quickly replaced when the old timers retire.

Lacson said he believes Secretary Francisco Duque III is not in cahoots with the “DOH syndicate,” but insisted the DOH chief mount his own inquiry and clean up the department, which Duque vowed to do.

Duque, in turn, assured that among other reform measures on line, DOH officials are already working on the implementation of a “strategic plan” involving reforms in their procurement supply chain, including the ban on buying medicine supply nearing expiry dates.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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