Health Department admits 10 percent wastage of drugs each year

About 10 percent of P1.8 billion of the annual budget for drugs, medicines and vaccines are wasted because of overstocking and weak inventory or supply chain system, according to The Manila Times Online report on Thursday.

Health Secretary Francisco Doque 3rd made the above admission when Senator Panfilo Lacson grilled him during his confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointment on Wednesday.

The Department of Health, in 2017, allocated more than P17.9 billion for the purchase of drugs, medicines and vaccines.

Senator Lacson urged the health secretary to look into the apparent weakness in the department’s drug supply chain system or database to prevent overstocking and wastage.

He noted that there was an outbreak of measles in Davao City in January and the outbreaks in 40 villages have affected 226 children despite the conduct of routine measles immunization program every year.

Asked how much drugs, medicines and vaccines are wasted due to overstocking, Doque said, according to the estimate of his staff, it was about roughly 10 percent going to wastage.

“It is not allowable under our watch. We will not allow this. We will make sure that the proper system are in place, the logistics and supply chain reforms must be put in place as soon as possible,” said Lacson.

He further said that the 10 percent “allowable” wastage was a bit too much.

“My suggestion is you strengthen your supply chain, you strengthen our data base and you strengthen your monitoring system,” said Lacson.