Cashing in on the countrywide lockdown enforced to contain the coronavirus infections, some public hospitals in Dhaka procured a certain injection at an unusual price of their will in the last two months of the previous fiscal year.
The price differed by Tk 2,040 per meropenum 1gm injection from a hospital to another, according to the report of an audit conducted by the Health and Family Welfare Ministry.They also bought a large volume of injection, which is used to treat severe bacterial infections, although they had sufficient stock beforehand, causing losses to the government coffer. There is also a chance for the medicine to get damaged for storing it for a long time.
While Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) bought per vial of the injection at Tk 170, Kuwait Bangladesh Maitree Government Hospital (KBMGH) procured it at highest Tk 2,210, according to the audit report.
The Daily Sun obtained a copy of the audit report conducted during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Additional Secretary (Audit and financial management) of the Health Services Division Mohammed Shahadat Husain told the Daily Sun that action will be taken against those involved in such anomalies. “There’s no scope of such a huge gap with the market price.” he said.
The report mentioned that the price varied as many hospitals did not collect the injection through a participatory bidding process. Instead, they procured it at a high price for personal gains which caused the government financial losses, it said.
Meanwhile, some hospitals, including DMCH and Kurmitola General Hospital (KMGH), had been able to collect the injection at a lower price due to proper bidding.As per the report, the Essential Drugs Company Ltd (EDCL) could not produce and supply the injection to the hospitals on time due to the shortage of its raw material meropenum with sodium carbonate USP (sterile micronised).
And the hospitals took the chance to buy the injection at a high price.
The EDCL meanwhile fixed the injection price at Tk 793.28 for the crisis period.
However, KBMGH, Mugda General Hospital (MGH) and Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital (SMCH) bought the injection at a high price than the EDCL-fixed one.
MGH bought the injection at Tk 1,298 per vial while SMCH at Tk 1,295. KBMGH bought the same injection in four phases -- at Tk 2,210 per vial on May 9, at Tk 1,350 on May 16 and at Tk 1,300 and Tk 1,955 on June 29.
On the other hand, DMCH managed to buy the injection at Tk 170 while KMGH at Tk 214 and the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) Hospital at Tk 793.28, according to the audit report.
As per the report, KMGH has 30,801 injections in its stock, including those remained unused after 2018-19 fiscal year and those bought in the 2019-2020 financial year (30,500), while it used only 6,710 in the last FY.
KBMGH has 4,027 injections, including old stock and new purchase of 12,825, in hand while it used 8,798 in 2019-20, SMCH has 11,836, including old stock and new purchase of 23,179, while it used 11,343 in 2019-20 and MGH has 2,200 injections in stock, including old stock and new purchase of 212,352, while it used 210,152 in 2019-20.
Spokesperson of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr Habibur Rahman told the Daily Sun that the audit objection is nothing serious. “All will be resolved after giving reply to those objections.”
“It’s natural that the audit will be conducted in every office and they put some audit objections. Those are not irregularities,” he said.