The Central Medical Stores Trust says it is stressed by financial challenges, a situation which is affecting the cost of its medicines and medical supplies.
Speaking to journalists in Mzuzu on Wednesday, CSMT chief executive officer Feston Kaupa said the trust has been budgeting around K22 billion for procurement of medicines against the national requirement of essential medicines of about K35 billion.
“Most of the times when we are procuring medicines, we start from a deficit ; suffice to say there are also some efficiency gains that we can get through appropriate and proper management of the pharmaceutical supply chain in the country from procurement to good warehousing practices and distribution as well as storage facilities and physical controls,” he said.
He further said discussions are underway with the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development and Ministry of Health to review the current financing system.
Currently, CMST makes money through selling of medicines and medical supplies to hospitals at a markup of 18 percent.
Kaupa also disclosed that CMST pays at St Gabriel Hospital in Namitete (the only hospital that has pharmagrade incinerator in the country)to board off expired or damaged medicines which affects the trust’s resources..
As a result, there has been an outcry from hospitals in the country that CMST commodities are expensive as compared to other private suppliers.
In a recent interview with our sister paper Nation on Sunday, Chitipa district medical officer Esther Chirwa said this hits on them hard because the money they are given is supposed to be spent on CMST, not other suppliers.
“If we had that opportunity to buy from other suppliers, we would buy from them. For example, there are certain things that we need, but they are very expensive at CMST and we opt not to buy from them, or we buy in small quantities,” she said.
He, however, said plans are at an advanced stage for government to acquire its own incinerators for disposing damaged and expired medicines. n