New GPC (NGPC) is facing increasing competition from other drug suppliers since the new APNU+AFC government shook up procurement arrangements.
The previous pre-qualification system had seen NGPC securing the lion’s share of the market. With the pre-qualification system no longer in place, previously excluded companies can now bid for the contracts. In recent weeks, large contract awards have gone to Caribbean Medical Supplies Inc and other companies.
In the most recent contract award announced by the Ministry of the Presidency on April 29th, four companies won the right to supply tuberculosis medication (see table below). The largest award went to Global HealthCare Supplies Inc with $17.8m. It was followed by International Pharmaceutical Agency with $4.56m, NGPC with $4.45m and Caribbean Medical Supplies Inc (CMSI) at $1.42m.
Global Healthcare is headquartered in Third Street, Alberttown and describes itself on its website as follows “We are a new company with 30 years experience in Health care supplies and services, we are one of the top pharmaceutical suppliers, leading the way in our industry with products of the highest quality, offering competitive prices, while never sacrificing our personal approach in servicing our customers.”
Several weeks ago when large contracts were awarded to CMSI, questions were raised about its background. Stabroek News later spoke to its Chief Executive Officer.
“I want to at least clear the air as to what my company is about so that people understand. I don’t have times for the frivolous games with New GPC through Guyana Times,” Chief Executive Officer of CMSI, Davendra Rampersaud told Stabroek News.
Through single-sourcing, Cabinet last month gave the green light for six contracts for medical supplies and said this was due to time constraints. Five of those contracts were granted to CMSI.
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, who had briefed the press during a March 24th 2016 Post Cabinet Press Conference had pointed out that single-sourcing is done when the process of going out to tender would be too time consuming thus hampering delivery.
Rampersaud told Stabroek News that because his company was a local authorized distributor for the reagents needed, he was asked by the Ministry of Health and the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) to supply the reagents.
“What needs to be addressed is that the NPTAB has certain rules and regulations that has been in operation…as part of that rule, a company that has a legitimate authorization letter as the distributor for Guyana should be given first precedence in the purchase of those things,” he said.
The reason for that is that you ensure you get the best pricing as if you are a distributor you will get the best pricing from the company and you will get after sales service. Every year we spend 15 to 30 thousand to get our people constantly certified. The guys have to go to the US and Italy to get trained. You get the recall advantage in that if something goes wrong you can send back through the authorized suppliers without any issues,” he added.
Following the contract awards, the Guyana Times, which is part of the group that controls NGPC, had raised questions about CMSI.
‘No fly by night company’
Rampersaud said that he did not want to waste time in “back and forth bickering” with the Guyana Times, but feels the need to respond as an article it ran has had a negative impact on his business.
He also wants to clear the air that he is not a “fly by night company” and has been established for over five years and has never had a problem with any of his supplies.
“I did a letter and sent to the ministry and the NPTAB because nothing in the article is true. I had one of my suppliers tell me ‘you know better, don’t take it on’. However, the negative impact it has had on my company is grand because persons who are supporters of the former government they called to say they will decrease their purchases from me because they didn’t know I was in tandem with the coalition and funding the coalition and these sort of things,” he posited.
“They (the report) said we were established in 2013, we have been (established) since 2011. We have been doing them for the last five years. We have been getting contracts for them but not just this big. …this is the first time we have been given what we deserve, freely and fairly and I guess they are upset about it. We have distribution letters from the manufacturers indicating that we are the local authorized distributors in Guyana,” he also said.
He said that with his being a microbiologist by profession, when he moved back to Guyana from the USA and Trinidad, five years ago, he established his business because persons had a problem sourcing proper lab reagents.
According to Rampersaud, CMSI supplies the University of Guyana, NGOs, the Pan American Health Organisation, the World Health Organisation and several other agencies. He said that CMSI has established relationships throughout the Caribbean with sub offices in Trinidad, Antigua Grenada.
As for the claims of being politically aligned, CMSI dismissed them as scandalous.
Rampersaud said that he is not afraid of any government as his company is legitimate and can stand up to scrutiny without fear or favour from any administration and believes that because of the service and products he offers he will stand the test of time.
“We are a simple modest company that’s growing and we just want to go from strength to strength and instead of it being a state of happiness for us it’s been turned into a circus and we have people attacking from all around,” he said.
The box below shows the distribution of awards from the last tender for drug supplies