With three weeks to the end of May for eight suppliers to complete delivering drugs in another tender worth $2.969 million (about K1.16 billion), Malawi’s Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) has only received about 25 percent of the drugs, officials said this week.
The K1.16 billion tender was issued about four weeks after awarding of the controversial emergency drug tender of $1.657 million (roughly K650 million) for cholera, diabetes and malaria drugs in which suppliers failed to deliver about 42 percent of the total drug package by April 16 deadline.
In an interview on Monday, CMST director of pharmaceutical operations Dr. Moses Chisale said suppliers in the second tender have so far delivered about 25 percent of the overall quantity.
“For the other big procurement of drugs, delivery period is ending at the end of May. It is premature to start giving figures now but what I can say is that we have so far received about 20 to 25 percent of the drugs. We have three weeks to go before end of the delivery period,” said Chisale.
With the second tender awarded on February 22, it means the eight suppliers have taken at least two months to deliver 25 percent of the expected drugs.
They were given five to 12 weeks delivery period, according to the award notice published on February 22this year.
The eight companies which got contracts in the tender are Pharmanova, Worldwide Pharmaceuticals, Intermed, Sadm Pharmaceuticals, Mediworld, Dawa Limited of Kenya, Sonali Pharmaceuticals and Premiumway International of the United Kingdom.
Sadm Pharmaceuticals got the largest portion of about 60 percent of the tender valued at $1 779 804 (about K694 million) and seconded by Sonali Pharmaceuticals which got $464 850 (about K181 million) of the lot.
Chisale said deliveries of drugs in the two contracts and other drug support initiatives are the ones which have contributed to the reduction of the drug stock-outs at the trust from 95 percent to about 80 percent although he said the situation was still critical.
Meanwhile, CMST is yet to receive about 20 percent of drugs in the first controversial emergency drug procurement deal whose deadline elapsed three weeks ago.
Minister of Health Catherine Gotani Hara on Monday said the drug situation in the country has been improving because apart from CMST, government has been getting drug donations and support from donors who are running a parallel medical kit programme that delivers drugs directly to health facilities.