DOH: Medicine stocks being distributed

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    THE Department of Health yesterday said it has started distributing the stockpiled drugs and medicines and medical and dental supplies referred to by the Commission on Audit in a 2019 audit of the department.

    Last Monday, the COA reported that the DOH has P2.2 billion worth of drugs, medicines, and other supplies in its inventory that are either expired, nearly expired, or overstocked and slow-moving.

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, in a statement, said the materials and supplies in the 2019 COA Consolidated Annual Audit Report cover its stockpile for 2019, “which means this only covers the period of January to December 2019, and that the current status of the DOH Central Office figures is now different.”

    For the P166,320 worth of expired commodities noted by COA, Duque said 62,410 (98.67 percent) of the 63,250 dental kits have been distributed with only the fluoride toothpastes having expiry dates.

    This, he said, means that there are only 840 dental kits, that contain kiddie toothbrushes and germicidal soap, among others, left for distribution.

    As for the COA finding of overstocked/slow-moving/idle commodities amounting to P1.1 billion, the DOH said P815 million worth has been distributed between January to August 2020.

    Duque said there is an ongoing distribution for the remaining P322 million, with expiry dates ranging from 2021 to 2023.

    Medicines and supplies that are nearing expiration, worth some P1 billion, have been distributed, Duque said.

    As of September 30, all products have been distributed between the months of January to August 2020.

    Duque said deliveries and distribution were made despite limitations posed by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.