Duque: Lack of warehouses led to delayed distribution of near expiring meds
MANILA, Philippines — The lack of warehouses specialized for storing drugs and medicines contributed to the delayed distribution of medications and commodities procured by the government, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
“Ang naging problema nga yo’ng warehousing capacity. That’s from the national to the regional to the local. In fact, pati Central [Office] natin. Kaya nagpahanap tayo ng additional warehouses,” Duque said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday.
“But you know the warehouses for drugs and medicines are not as simple as saying; O, warehouse ‘yan. It has to be climate controlled, otherwise the efficacy of the medicines will go down,” he added.
An annual Commission on Audit (COA) report said that P367.1-million worth of medicines already nearing its expiration dates have yet to be distributed by the DOH.
The COA report also showed that most of these items procured by the DOH’s Central Office (CO), amounting to P294.767 million, are still in warehouses as of January 31, 2019.
Duque attributed the delayed distribution of medications, which comes from its central office, to the lack of warehouses in the regional and local level.
Additional warehouses, he said, would provide for a faster delivery of drugs and medicines to these areas.
“We want to put up regional hubs, para do’n na lang. Hindi yo’ng manggagaling nang Central tapos ibababa mo sa region, tapos ibababa mo pa sa [lokal], ang tagal. It takes forever to do that,” the health secretary said.
“‘Yung warehouses na pinadadami natin sa mga regions, they will now serve as hubs so that they can more quickly distribute to their local government units. Pero ‘yung local government units, kulang din sila sa warehouse,” he further explained.
Duque further noted that a Supreme Court ruling which banned the distribution of Implanon, a type of contraceptive, also affected the government’s warehouse capacity as the it would have to be stored unless the ban is lifted.
“Pero na-move na natin kasi nawala na yung TRO (temporary restraining order), we’ve already very quickly distributed it (Implanon) to the intended beneficiaries,” he said.
“But ang sinasabi ko, this contributed to the congestion [and] to the bursting at the seams of our existing warehouse capacity. So marami talaga na gano’n na mga unforeseen circumstances, beyond our control but it’s no excuse,” he added. /je
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