Prime Minister James Marape has directed the Health Department to work on direct procurement of drugs and medicines from World Health Organisation-sanctioned manufacturers and do away with the current system introduced by the previous O’Neill government.
He issued the directions after a meeting with Indian High Commissioner to PNG, H.E. Shri S. Imbasekar, on Tuesday (January 4 2022).
High Commissioner Imbasekar impressed upon PM Marape that India was the cheapest supplier of generic drugs – recognised by the World Health Health Organisation (WHO) – to the world.
He said India could supply drugs to PNG on a government-to-government basis at a fraction of the costs PNG was currently paying to pharmaceutical companies, and save a lot of money.
“My Government made a deliberate policy to do a holistic overhaul of the existing drug procurement system when we came into office in 2019,” PM Marape said.
“However, a three-year drug-procurement contract issued by the O’Neill regime, was already in place and we have had to live through that.
“That contract has been the subject of much controversy and riddled with allegations of corruption, including Public Accounts Committee inquiries in 2014 and 2019.
“This year, as we move out of the contract period, we will move into a new drug-procurement system my Government will design.”
PM Marape said lives of the people of PNG could no longer be endangered with an ineffective
“We want quality drugs to be readily-available without middlemen,” he said.
“This means straight to the Health Department from a trusted source.
“I have directed the Health Department to immediately start procuring drugs from manufacturers like those in India.
“India is a renowned pharmaceutical nation that the world relies on.
“The Government, working with WHO and the Medical Pharmaceutical Board, will enter into this new direct drug-procurement system with India if all requirements are met.”