Millions of dollars in expired drugs and medical supplies dating back to 2016 are still stored at the West Demerara Regional Hospital in bond space that has been described as congested and disorganized.
Regional Executive Officer for Region Three, Denis Jaikarran and a team of officials from the Region faced tough questions when they appeared before the Public Accounts Committee on Monday to respond to observations made in the Auditor General’s 2016 Report.
Although the report was compiled in 2017 and addressed matters arising in 2016, the PAC was told on Monday that expired drugs dating back to 2016 were still not removed and destroyed.
The 2016 report had noted that 213 items of expired drugs with an approximate value of $5.4 million were found at the hospital and several other health centers within the region.
The Regional Authorities had told the Auditors that the expired drugs and medical supplies were recorded in the expired ledger and were being stored until they are verified and destroyed by the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department.
A letter was written by the Regional Health Officer in August 2017, requesting the removal and destruction of the drugs but there has been no response to date.
The expired drugs are still being stored in the same drugs bond where other medications are being stored.
According to the Regional Health Offocer, the expired drugs are stored separately.
The Health Officer assured that there is no way the expired medication could leave the bond and get into the hands of residents who benefit from the services.
The same AG report had noted that the drugs bond in 2016 was very congested and disorganized. “there were a number of unserviceable items which needs to be sorted out for disposal,” the report noted.
The report had also noted that a comparison of the physical stock with the records could not be carried out at the West Dem Hospital drugs bond due to unavailability of records.
The REO has since said that the RHO is in constant contact with the Ministry of Finance and Public Health to retrieve those records.
The REO and his team also had to answer other questions relating to the purchase of drugs and medical supplies where the cost for drugs procured were not stated on the documentation that accompanied the deliveries.
As a result, it could not be determined whether the full value was received for the sum warranted from the Ministry of Public Health.