DoH: Only 0.03% of P7.43-B medicine worth of medical supplies expired

The Department of Health on Wednesday clarified only 0.03 percent of the P7.431 billion worth of medical supplies have actually expired, rejecting an earlier report of the Commission on Audit.

“Only 0.03% were found to have actually expired, while only 1.16% were found to be near expiry,” the Health Department said in a written response to questions submitted by reporters.

According to the DoH, the state auditors “focused on the proper disposal of expired drugs and medicines not on the expiration per se given that the hospitals/facilities were able to justify the cause/s of the expiration, therefore, those were not highlighted in the audit.”

Last week, state auditors released a report about the P7.43 billion worth of medicines, drugs, and other types in the DoH’s inventories that were found to be expired, nearly expired, or damaged.

However, the Health Department said that 95.81 percent of its total inventories are not expired and only pertain to slow-moving, undistributed, or overstocked inventories.

Meanwhile, the agency attributed the expired medical supplies to the low number of patients seeking treatment at government hospitals.

It noted that most of the expired medicines were distributed to different DOH hospitals across the country which were unutilized due to the lower number of patients going to hospitals fearing COVID-19.

“The rest were stocks in DOH regional offices which remained undistributed due to refusal of implementing units to accept new stocks citing sufficiency of existing stocks,” it added.

As regards the slow-moving inventories, the agency said that as of 8 September, it has already distributed 86 percent of its inventories to its regional offices.

The remaining 14 percent is scheduled to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of the year, the Health department said.

To prevent the same problem in the future, the DOH said it continues to explore and implement new strategies to address persistent issues with regard to supply chain and asset management.

“In fact, the Secretary has directed the creation of an asset management task force in the DOH to ensure that issues like these are planned for, immediately addressed, and prevented,” it said.

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