Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has directed the Health Department to work on direct procurement of drugs and medicines from World Health Organisation-sanctioned manufacturers and do away with the current system.
He issued the directions after a meeting with Indian High Commissioner to PNG, His Excellency Shri S. Imbasekar on Tuesday 4 January 2022.
“My government has made a deliberate policy to do a holistic overhaul of the existing drug procurement system when we came into office in May 2019,” Prime Minister Marape said.
He said a three-year drug-procurement contract issued by the O’Neill regime, was already in place and we have had to live through that, and that contract has been the subject of much controversy and riddled with allegations of corruption, including Public Accounts Committee inquiries in 2014 and 2019.
“This year, as we move out of the contract period, we will move into a new drug-procurement system my government will design because lives of the people of Papua New Guinea could no longer be endangered with an ineffective drug-procurement system.
“We want quality drugs to be readily-available without middlemen and this means straight to the Health Department from a trusted source.”
Prime Minister Marape has already directed the Health Department to immediately start procuring drugs from manufacturers like those in India.
“India is a renowned pharmaceutical nation that the world relies on and the Government is working with WHO and the Medical Pharmaceutical Board and we will enter into this new direct drug-procurement system with India if all requirements are met.”
Meanwhile, High Commissioner Imbasekar was impressed with Prime Minister Marape stance on the new approach on the drug – procurement system saying India was the cheapest supplier of generic drugs, recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) to the world.
“India could supply drugs to PNG on a government-to-government basis at a fraction of the costs PNG was currently paying to pharmaceutical companies, help cutting down expenses and save money,” Mr Imbasekar emphasized.