General News of Monday, 4 August 2014

Source: The Finder

EOCO probes Ghc5.2M rot at Central Medical Stores

Various medicines valued at about Ghc3.2 million at the Central Medical Stores (CMS) in Tema have expired and are earmarked for destruction. The medicines expired from 2012 to date.

In addition, syringes worth Ghc2 million and purchased by the CMS have been rejected by health facilities.

The situation endangers the lives of patients because all public health facilities source their medicines from CMS.

The situation alarmed the immediate past Health Minister, Ms Sherry Ayittey, who wrote to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate the circumstance that led to the expiry of such large tonnes of drugs, thereby causing financial loss to the state.

The letter to EOCO was dated July 7, 2014.

In the letter, EOCO is to determine whether the medicines were supplied with the standard shelve life of 18 months as required by policy.

In addition, EOCO is to investigate whether quantities supplied at the time were based on any scientific quantification in consultation with CMS.

EOCO is also to investigate if there were operation lapses, which prevented the staff of the CMS from identifying the locations of the expired medicines.

According to the letter, EOCO is also to determine if there were wilful acts of omission or commission by individual staff resulting in the expiry of the medicines.

Ms Ayittey also requested EOCO to investigate indebtedness of creditors to CMS of over Ghc18 million.

It will be recalled that last year tonnes of drugs were exposed to heat and rainwater at the Central Medical Stores at Tema due to the deplorable nature of the place.?Apart from a leaking roof jeopardising the shelf life of goods there, some hazardous items have also been mixed with proper goods.

The Central Medical Stores is a unit under the Procurement and Supply Directorate of the Ministry of Health.

It was established to provide cost-effective and efficient warehousing and distribution services on the country’s health delivery objectives.

Pursuant to this objective, the CMS is expected to manage health commodities delivered to its warehouses with the necessary professional dictates to ensure the potency and integrity of medicines and other health commodities are secured.

Experts say using expired medical products is risky and possibly harmful to your health because expiration dates on medical products are a critical part of determining if the product is safe to use and will work as intended.

According to them, expired medical products can be less effective or be risky due to a change in chemical composition or decrease in potency.