MANILA -- A lawmaker has filed a resolution seeking to investigate the Department of Health's (DOH) P18.4-billion worth of overstocked medicine.
House Resolution 145, filed by Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor, urges the House Committee on Health to look into the Commission on Audit report that said the DOH has accumulated P18.4 billion worth of drugs and medicine in 2018, from P16 billion in 2017, P11.3 billion in 2016, and P10 billion in 2015.
The same report also flagged that P367.158 million worth of these medicines were nearing expiration.
Eighty percent of these have been distributed to communities where they are needed most, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo earlier said.
“Negligence in the management of perishable inventories, especially life-saving drugs, is unacceptable, considering that many poor Filipinos desperately need these medicines,” Defensor said in a statement.
“In this case, we sure hope the problem has nothing to do with the over-purchasing of medicines owing to possible enticements from large pharmaceutical suppliers,” Defensor said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said the non-distribution of the medicines was due to a shortage in specialized warehouses.
“If that is the case, then Congress might as well give portions of the annual multibillion-peso Health Facilities Enhancement Fund directly to public hospitals, so that they can build their own warehouses in their compounds. This way, the medicines are always within the reach of consumers,” Defensor said.
The Justice department said it will also look into the COA report and will file administrative and criminal cases as necessary.