President orders immediate investigation into ware “house” fiasco

first_imgIn light of startling revelations with respect to the rental of a ware “house” to store Government medicineNEW GPC’s state-of-the-art storage facility at Ruimveldt, Georgetown showing air conditioning systems and loading docksand medical supplies, President David Granger has announced that he has set up a Cabinet Sub-Committee to investigate the contract.In a statement issued Wednesday evening, the Ministry of the Presidency said that the Head of State was briefed by Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton on the issue during this week’s Cabinet (Council of Ministers) meeting.Following the briefing, President Granger immediately appointed the Cabinet Sub-Committee to “review, examine and report on the issue”.Natural Resources and Environment Minister Raphael Trotman has been appointed Chair of the Sub-Committee which includes Minister of State, Joseph Harmon and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo. The preliminary report is expected to be presented to the media today.Drugs ware “house”The controversy erupted on Monday when Government presented for consideration more than $930 millionEntrance to Linden Holding Inc’s bond at Sussex Street, Georgetownin advances from the Contingency Fund to meet a number of “unforeseen and urgent” expenditure.Included in that amount is a $25 million deposit paid to Linden Holding Inc – a company owned by Larry Singh, a financier of the coalition A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government – along with a $12.5 million amount representing one month’s rent for the storage facility.Dr Norton told the House that Government opted to ‘sole source’ the bond from Singh since NEW GPC INC was demanding an exorbitant fee as rental for its Ruimveldt, Industrial Site bond.His assertions generated significant public furore, since it was found he was misleading the House on the request made by NEW GPC, in addition to being less than forthcoming on the transaction with Linden Holding Inc.It was later revealed that the Ministry not only entered into a shady contract to rent a sub-standard facility,Storage at NEW GPC’s facilitythat is more than seven times smaller than NEW GPC’s facility, but it also agreed to pay as much as five times more than what NEW GPC requested. An invoice was computed by NEW GPC at $237 per square foot against the more than $1000 Government has decided to pay Linden Holding Inc.The multibillion-dollar premier pharmaceutical company had over the years afforded the Ministry and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) the use of its facility free of cost. Government terminated this arrangement after it took office, which led to NEW GPC requesting payment for the continued use of its facility.70,0000 sq ft vs 10,000 sq ftA comparative analysis of the two facilities in question, taking into account the international standards required for such facilities, reveals the Linden Holding Inc bond to be a far inferior facility and location.This newspaper researched the requirements for the operation of a drugs bond:Guyana Times was told that the operation of such a facility requires at least 20 staff members, including at least two pharmacists on site.This publication was told that a storage bond for drugs and medical supplies require certain mandatory requirements such as compartmentalised climate controls, security considerations, sanitary requirementsNEW GPC’s security checkpoint and protective gearEntrance to Cold Room storage at NEW GPC’s facilityand space considerations among others.The inventory chain begins with the delivery of drugs to the bond and ends when the drugs or medical supplies leave the bond.A visit to the NEW GPC bond at Industrial Site has since revealed the glaring deficiencies and inadequacies that exist at the Linden Holding Inc’s bond when compared to that of NEW GPC.At the NEW GPC facility, its loading area has been tailored to accept 40-foot containers. The loading area in addition to the sanitary and security considerations also takes into account space requirements since the process dictates that there be an adequate virtual quarantine location since drugs will have to be sorted even before being taken into the storage racks within the bond itself.While the NEW GPC bond boasts a large loading area, the entrance to the Linden Holding Inc bond is in fact the only entrance for the facility which is above a normally clogged canal.Among the mandatory requirements is the need for temperature controls in compartmentalised sections within the bond since different drugs require different storage conditions. Failure to adhere to stringent temperature control measures could result in drugs losing their integrity and could, in fact, become harmful to patients if not detected through quality assurance measures.Two small air-conditioning units were seen in the yard of the Linden Holding Inc bond’s compound while a few residential air-conditioning units appeared to be installed.NEW GPC’s bond boasts 13 industrial air-conditioning units, each with a capacity of 20,000 BTU, which are used to maintain the climate for at least three different temperature zones inclusive of extreme cold storage.Guyana Times was also informed of the importance of mandatory sections of such a facility inclusive of adequate quarantine zones. This location is used to house drugs and medical supplies that would have been flagged at the virtual quarantine space since those materials cannot be housed within the bond among other supplies.Space considerations were also said to be of paramount importance since in addition to the working environment, there is need for strict climate control measures.This newspaper was also told of the importance of the sanitary conditions being of the highest standards to ensure among other requirement, the facility is free of rodents and pests. Of note is that during Wednesday’s visit to the facility, rats could be seen running in the compound, in addition to algae in the drains in the yard housing the bond.Guyana Times was told too that fire hazards are among the safety issues to be considered in the use of such a facility. NEW GPC’s bond has been equipped with sprinkler systems, protocols and other safety gear. There were two black water tanks observed in the compound of Linden Holding Inc.The Guyana Fire Service is also required to undertake an inspection of storage bonds since such facilities pose real fire hazards as many drugs and medical supplies are extremely flammable.Guyana Times was told too of the importance of specialised security zones for the storage of controlled substances such as morphine and oxycontin among such drugs. Since such drugs are controlled substances under the laws of Guyana, such zones are required to ensure adequate security measures are in place to guard against pilferage and such like occurrences.In fact, the pre-qualification requirements for suppliers of pharmaceuticals as set out by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board in 2010 speak to the fact that NEW GPC exceeded all the expected requirements.The criteria for selecting the potential supplier at the time specifically included storage capacity and temperature as priorities.At the time, NEW GPC was selected by the Guyana Government as the only prequalified supplier; competitors such as IPA were disregarded since they were found to have insufficient storage; inadequate storage for drugs, including controlled narcotics; a lack of SOPs and a paucity of computerised inventory management.last_img

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