Health Ministry loses Rs. 800 in questionable deal, claims union

By Don asoka wijewardena

The Health Ministry has been accused of incurring a heavy loss of Rs. 800 million through the purchase of blood culture phials from a favoured supplier when the same product was available at a much cheaper rate.

All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe yesterday accused the ministry of purchasing blood culture phials from a multinational company at Rs. 914 each, while the same could have been obtained from another supplier at Rs. 535. He said that through that deal the Ministry had incurred a loss of Rs. 800 million annually.

He said a blood culture testing machine known as ‘Act Alert’ was very expensive and a single phial used in it cost Rs.914. Many leading state-run hospitals had been using those expensive phials for testing blood culture though a similar machine called ‘Becdec’, which was inexpensive and it could use phials costing only Rs. 535 each.

He said it was a crime, because no responsible official in the ministry was accountable.

When contacted for comment Medical Supplies Division (MSD) Director Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe said that there were two kinds of blood culture testing machines. The machine called ‘Act Alert’ used a specific phial. The other machine was ‘Becdec’ which used another kind of phial. They were machine specific.

Therefore the SPC had purchased the phials from the company which manufactured the machine. The MSD never purchased blood culture testing machines or phials. It was the responsibility of the hospital authorities to place orders in accordance with the Circular issued by the Ministry.

The hospital authorities sent the orders to the MSD, but the MSD, in turn, placed the orders with the State Pharmaceutical Corporation he said. "What has happened is that during the former Director General of Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis’ tenure he requested the SPC to purchase the blood culture machines from a certain multinational company. Since then, the purchasing of the phials from the particular company has been going on," Dr. Jayasinghe alleged.

animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...