Health Ministry notified unsuccessful bidders about selection of drug supplier -PS

Bidders who did not prequalify to supply drugs to the health sector for 2014 to 2016 have been formally notified, according to Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Leslie Cadogan.

“…They were written to and each bidder that was written to signed on the duplicate that we have in our possession, as receiving notification that they were responsive or non-responsive,” Cadogan said on Wednesday at a news conference. He went to explain that the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation (New GPC) was the sole entity pre-qualified to supply drugs to the public health sector for the 2014 to 2016 period.

Cadogan could not say when the letters were distributed to the companies but noted that he could find out and relay the information.

Cadogan had previously been silent on why companies which tendered for the pre-qualification since February 18th last year were not officially notified as to the status of their bid up to late last month. The situation had raised concerns about who has been supplying the nation with drugs over the last six months and if any procurement laws are being broken.

Reaching Cadogan over the last year for comment on the notification has been painstaking and when told of the difficulty reaching him he said it was a surprise to him and the newspaper should attempt yet again to secure a date for an interview with his secretary.

Cadogan said he had been hearing that companies had not been notified but he can supply documents to dispute this. “I was hearing and reading things that entities said they were not notified but that is not true. The copy that we have this can be made public,” he said

Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon had announced last July that only the New GPC had been selected to supply drugs to the public health sector for the period, which led to formal protests by Trinidad-based conglomerate ANSA McAL and a court challenge of the decision by the International Pharmaceutical Agency (IPA) which said that the decision was unconstitutional.

Then in October, Luncheon acknowledged that official documentation was not sent to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) informing it of Cabinet’s no-objection to the selection, while the Health Ministry went on record during the same month about being in the dark as to who won the contract as it had not received correspondence from the NPTAB.

An official of the NPTAB told Stabroek News that the letter was prepared around October 13th last year and was dispatched and is logged in the NPTAB’s records. The official explained that it was then the ministry’s role to notify all bidders on the status of their bid. “NPTAB’s role is complete for now; only if there are protests and that sort of thing. The ball is now in the hands of Ministry of Health to notify all the bidders…,” the official had explained.

Meanwhile, up to the end of December Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ANSA McAL Beverly Harper stressed that her company was yet to receive official documentation from the Health Ministry on the status of its bid.

Efforts to contact Harper yesterday proved futile.

An NPTAB official explained to Stabroek News that it had not received protests from any of the companies that submitted bids.

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