THE government is saving over 4bn/- annually under the new arrangement of procuring drugs and medical supplies directly from manufacturers.
Minister for Health Community Development Gender, Elderly and Children Ms Ummy Mwalimu, revealed that yesterday at the official opening of the 3rd Medical Stores Department (MSD) Manufacturers /Suppliers Annual General Meeting , 2019 and 2nd Saving Lives Sustainably : Global Forum in Africa held in Dar es Salaam.
She said the strategy which started to be implemented in 2016 has reduced the price of health commodities to an average of 40 per cent, thus enabling the government to save about USD 2 million per year (equivalent to 4.6b/- ) per year.
“We are saving about USD 2 million per year (equivalent to 4.6 ) by procuring health commodities directly from manufacturers... we will continue using this system because we have seen its impact,” she said.
She said the government was continuing to envision its policy by procuring pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and laboratory reagents directly from the manufacturers to be sure that they were sustainably accessible and affordable with best quality to all government health facilities and some of the private institutions accredited by the Ministry.
She said MSD started implementing the strategy by sourcing health commodities directly from the manufacturers after entering into long term agreements with manufacturers and suppliers.
“This strategy has led to tremendous impact to both MSD and government such as reduction of price to an average of 40 per cent and to minimize counterfeit risks due to assurance of quality medicines and medical supplies,” she said.
She gave an example of a hospital bed sheet, saying that before initiating the new arrangements, MSD used to buy a single piece at 21,000/- but when they started procuring directly from manufacturers, the price dropped to 11,200/-.
“Despite the fact that the bed sheets were being manufactured in the country, since they had to use middlemen the prices went up... if you have 1m/- now you will get 100 bed sheets instead of 50 which were procured before the introduction of the new system,” the minister said.
She stressed that the government would continue procuring health sector items from manufactures because it had seen the impact on the little financial resources allocated for health supplies and the value for money.
Ms Mwalimu said that apart from reducing prices, it had also cut down procurement time to between six and three months and reduced storage costs as local manufacturers can easily arrange a minimum quantity to meet reorder level.
She, however, said that the government had increased its budget of procuring health commodities from 31m/- in the financial 2014/2015 to 270million in this financial year to ensure that the health sector sufficed for saving lives.
“This increment in the budget has helped to ensure availability of essential medicines from 40 per cent from 2015 to about 90 per cent in this financial year ,” she said.
For his part, the MSD Director General, Mr Laurian Bwanakunu , said that MSD was doing business with various people around the world and the only chance they got was to meet at least one in a year to discuss how they could do business better.
He said the meeting aimed at discussing how they do business together and discuss this year’s theme which is “ Promoting Investment in Sustainable Manufacturing, Supply, Procurement and Safe Disposal of Health Commodities.”