ANSA McAl, New GPC among seven seeking to supply drugs for health sector

Trinidadian conglomerate ANSA McAl and the locally-based New GPC are among seven companies which have submitted pre-qualification documents for the supply and delivery of billions of dollars worth of medical supplies for Guyana’s health sector.

The pre-qualification for health supplies covers the 2014 to 2016 period and comes amid concerns that new pre-qualification criteria were tailored to favour New GPC, which has earned billions of dollars in drug supply contracts in recent years. If pre-qualified, ANSA’s entry could shake up the market.

New GPC has had a close relationship with the PPP/C government and opposition MPs have for years questioned the circumstances under which drug supply contracts were awarded to it.

The submissions were opened yesterday at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).

Western Scientific Company, another firm out of Trinidad and Tobago, is also seeking to supply and deliver pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and other consumables.

The remaining companies, which are all Guyana-based, are Telcom Solu-tions (Guyana) Inc, Medi-tron Scientific Sales, Inter-national Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA) and Global Healthcare Supplies Inc.

The documentation submitted by the companies included an original and two copies of their tender documents and compliance certificates. The submissions were received by Ministry of Health Pro-curement Officer Prakash Sookdeo, who is also head of the Materials Manage-ment Unit. Evaluators of the ministry’s choosing will assess them.

Stabroek News understands that the NPTAB will not be a part of the evaluation process as the Health Ministry has its own committee to do so.

According to the evaluation criteria, bidders will be awarded points according to how they score on a number of questions in the categories of ‘General Information,’ ‘Financial Capacity,’ ‘Infrastructure,’ ‘Previous Experience,’ ‘Established Linkages,’ ‘Manufacturer/Distributor Information,’ ‘Quality Information’ and ‘Product Information.’

It said that out of 200 available points, all entities seeking to prequalify to bid must score 80 percent.

Preference will be given to pharmaceutical manufacturers in Guyana and companies that have appropriate warehousing facilities in Guyana, according to the evaluation criteria document. It said too that products manufactured in Guyana and certified by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department automatically qualify and are eligible for a 10 percent price advantage compared with imported items.

Under General Infor-mation, the evaluators will ask whether an applicant is a legally registered company in Guyana and will award a maximum score of 5 points for this. Under Financial Capacity, an applicant will earn maximum points for having a turnover of $1 billion, net assets of over $500 million and paying at least $50 million a year in corporate taxes to the Treasury.

In addition, 5 points are awarded if a company has over 50 full-time employees with an average time on the job of three years. Under Infrastructure, 10 points are given if the applicant has a warehouse facility of 30,000 square feet in Georgetown or its environs, with suitable equipment, staff, IT, security, certification and sanitation. An additional five points are awarded if the facility has three separate temperature control zones for the storage of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals. Having a separate area for the storage of controlled substances, i.e. narcotics, will attract a score of 10 points.

While many of the criteria are reasonable for developing countries seeking to boost local drug manufacturing, the continued favouring of New GPC, which became prominent during the Bharrat Jagdeo administration, has led the political opposition to charge that the government’s intention is to steer the majority of drug supply business to New GPC no matter what. Reputable international suppliers who may not have warehouses here, are not locally registered and clearly do not have turnover of $1 billion would be automatically shut out, critics argue.

Prior to New GPC’s rise to prominence, specialised overseas agencies had supplied over 90% of the government’s requirements.

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