State auditor flags P44M in drugs, medicines in Batangas
by Allan Yves Briones
The Commission on Audit (COA) called out the municipal government of Sto. Tomas over the reportedly questionable procurement of P44.58 million in drugs and medicines.
According to the 2018 Annual Audit Report, the medical supplies were acquired without strictly observing provisions of law and audit guidelines, casting doubt on their integrity.
“(Sto. Tomas’ oversight disregarded) the required assurance of potency, safety and quality of delivered drugs and medicines as well as the validity and propriety of the payments made,” the state auditing agency stated in the report.
Source: 2018 Annual Audit Report on the Municipality of Sto. Tomas
State auditors said that an audit of the transactions revealed documentary deficiencies like certifications from health professionals that the supplies conform to the Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF) Volume 1, which serves as the basis for all drug procurement by the government.
“The absence of said certifications deprives the recipients of the assurance that the drugs and medicines procured are with approved therapeutic efficiency to the detriment of the end-users,” COA said, referencing Executive Order No. 49, Department of Health Administrative Order No. 163 s. 2002, and Republic Act No. 9502.
Other missing documents included certificates of product registration and authorized distributorship, and even purchase orders, in violation of COA Circular No. 2012-001.
In addition, one check was even found to have included the brand name of the requested product – “equally violative”, as rules and regulations require that purchases should be in their generic names.
State auditors also noted marked differences in the costs of the medical supplies, which they attributed to the failure of Sto. Tomas’ procuring officials to avail themselves of the health department’s drug price index.
COA ordered Sto. Tomas Mayor Edna Sanchez to require the municipal health officer to consider the use of the drug price index and make sure to purchase from the PNDF Volume 1, and to direct the municipal accountant to ensure full compliance with the documentary requirements.
Sto. Tomas officials, as stated in the report, stated that they agree with the state auditing agency’s recommendations.
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